Priority harms

Towards zero programs – falls from heights and electrical

The Towards Zero programs will focus on those harms that have been the leading causes of traumatic injury fatalities in the building and construction industry for a long time. Our objective is to design and deliver new, innovative and long-term interventions to improve safety outcomes.

Falls from heights

Falls from heights are the leading cause of traumatic fatalities in the NSW construction industry, with 42 deaths reported between 2003 and 2013. This amounts to 35 per cent of all construction deaths over this period.4

We have zero tolerance to workers being exposed to the risk of falls on building and construction sites and will apply strong compliance sanctions where warranted.

We will undertake in-depth research and  analysis to develop detailed intervention initiatives focusing on the leading causations and contributing factors of falls. The program will also look at new and innovative ways to prevent falls risks in collaboration with other government agencies and leading industry partners.

Contact with electricity

Electrocution is the second leading cause of traumatic fatalities in construction in NSW, attributing to 20 (or 17 per cent of all) deaths between 2003 and 2013.4

Evidence suggests many of the fatalities were due to contact with electricity while working on electrical installations for machinery and (mainly) fixed plant. Australia-wide, half of the fatalities caused by contact with electricity involved electricians.4

In collaboration with peak industry bodies and NSW energy suppliers we will develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by contact with electricity, with particular emphasis on young workers and electricians.4


Mobile or fixed plant such as earth moving equipment, trucks, and cranes have the potential to seriously injure or kill people.

Many workers are seriously injured or killed when hit by moving plant, or in on-site vehicle collisions, or when trapped between or in equipment.

We will work with industry leaders in specific sectors of the building and construction industry to address the leading causes of fatalities and injuries involving moving or fixed plant.

Falling objects

Falling objects are the fourth most common cause of traumatic fatalities on NSW construction sites. Between 2003 and 2013, there were 14 workers killed in NSW from being hit by falling objects.This is also a life-threatening risk for members of the public passing by construction sites.

We will raise awareness and improve controls to manage falling objects, as well as providing industry with information on best practice measures.

4 Source: Work-related injuries and fatalities in Construction, Australia, 2003 to 2013. SafeWork Australia

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