Preventing falls from heights will be a key focus of a health and safety campaign being conducted at Echuca and Moama construction sites next week.

Inspectors from the Victorian WorkCover Authority and WorkCover NSW will visit worksites from Monday to talk to employers and employees about workplace safety.

The visits are part of the VWA's Cross Border project, aimed at educating employers and workers about construction site safety requirements on each side of the border.

VWA Regional Operations Manager Trevor Butler said the construction industry was overrepresented with fall-related workplace deaths and injuries.

"Of more than 80 serious injury claims in the construction industry in the Campaspe region over the past five years, more than 15 per cent were the result of falling from heights," Mr Butler said.

"In recent years, the industry has experienced a reduction in serious injuries from falls, however it is important for employers to continue to be vigilant in identifying and controlling the risks.

"Working from ladders, working on roofs, incomplete scaffold and falling into stairway voids are some of the most common work practices which can lead to falls from height."

Mr Butler said there were three key elements to reducing risks associated with working at heights, including:

  • planning the work to be completed and developing safe work method statements (SWMS);
  • implementing fall protection measures such as guard railing and scaffolding and;
  • supervising the work.

"Work at heights can be performed safely with appropriate planning and the right safety controls in place," he said.

The construction site visits next week are part of a three-year project by the two state health and safety regulators, which aims to alleviate confusion about construction safety requirements for companies that work on each side of Victoria-NSW border.

Acting General Manager of WorkCover NSW's Work Health and Safety Division Peter Dunphy said it was critical that construction workers were on the same page regarding risks and controls, regardless of which side of the border they were working.

"Each state has the same or similar requirements for high risk work licences, plant operator competencies and accepts the other state's safe work method statements and management plans," Mr Dunphy said.

House construction is one of the highest risk industries in NSW.

"In the two years to July 2012 there were 1,312 workers compensation claims at a cost of $22 million to the NSW workers compensation scheme," Mr Dunphy said.

The Cross Border project began in June last year and has so far helped more than 200 businesses understand and improve the health and safety of their workplace.

Cross Border Echuca/Moama will take place from 17-21 November. A trade information breakfast is being held on 14 November at Dahlsens Echuca from 7am to provide more information about the project.

In order to prepare for next week's visit, construction employers and workers are encouraged to pick up an inspection checklist available at all major hardware stores.

Back to top