Following a recent spate of fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry, WorkCover NSW has issued a warning to workers and businesses to take extreme care.

Many of these incidents involved workers falling from heights or being struck by falling objects or moving plant – some of the most common forms of injury in the high-risk construction industry.

Last week in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern, a 39-year-old licenced electrician sustained fatal head injuries when using an oxy-acetylene cutter to remove a ceiling-mounted cast iron fire hydrant pipe.

In Parkes yesterday (20 November) a 24-year-old carpenter working on a single-storey house fell more than two metres and struck his head. He is now in hospital and understood to be in a serious condition.

Earlier this week in the Hunter Valley, a welder working on a construction site sustained a fractured eye socket and facial cuts when he was struck by a section of railway track being lowered by a crane.

In another recent serious incident in Western Sydney, a 52-year-old man painting eaves on a two-storey house sustained a fractured leg and bruising to his neck and back after falling four metres. It is understood he was walking along a scaffold when he fell through an uncovered void.

Acting General Manager of WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division Peter Dunphy said businesses and workers needed to take extreme care when undertaking hazardous tasks.

"Many serious injuries or fatalities often result from a lack of planning and poor monitoring of the actual work being undertaken," Mr Dunphy said.

"We want all workers to return home safely to their families and friends at the end of the day, but sadly this is sometimes not the case."

Worksite safety can be improved by having Safe Work Method Statements that address hazards associated with high-risk construction work, supervising the work when necessary, and paying attention to simple tasks such as general worksite house-keeping.

"These safety measures are applicable across the entire construction industry, including domestic, commercial and civil construction sites," Mr Dunphy said.

"The NSW construction industry is one of the State's most important but highest risk, as the recent spate of serious incidents demonstrate."

Visit workcover.nsw.gov.au for construction safety advice or call WorkCover on 13 10 50.

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