WorkSafe inspectors to target risks of falling objects

WorkSafe inspectors will visit Victorian construction sites in the coming weeks to check falling object dangers.

With five deaths and 721 injuries falling objects are a leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.

Common causes for falling objects include gaps between safety screens or holes in safety netting, missing kick or toe boards on scaffolding, and debris or materials coming loose from plant while being lifted.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said even small objects can cause serious injuries when falling from a great height.

“Every year, WorkSafe is notified of hundreds of incidents involving falling objects, which are not only dangerous for workers, but also for members of the public passing by construction sites,” she said.

“Loads being lifted through the air must also be properly secured, and as we saw last year, the consequences can be tragic when a crane drops its load and there are workers below.”

“Risk control measures for falling objects are well known so there is no excuse for employers failing to implement them.”

To protect workers from falling objects, WorkSafe is reminding employers to:

  • Eliminating the risk through off-site assembly of equipment that would otherwise be performed at an elevated edge
  • Using containment systems or securing objects though substitution, isolation or engineering controls
  • Using guardrails systems that incorporate mesh infill panels and kickboards
  • Isolating the risk with barricades or fencing to create exclusion zones at ground level
  • Implementing engineering controls such as perimeter safety screens, overhead protection gantries, enclosed perimeter scaffolding, and restraining loose material
  • Administrative controls such as lines markings and signage to advise lanyard systems are to be used on tools, or to monitor the possibility of windy weather.

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