WorkSafe warns about dangers of falling objects

WorkSafe Victoria issued a warning on the dangers of falling objects after a large metal prop fell from the 56th level of a Melbourne CBD construction on Thursday morning.

An initial report reveals that workers were removing bracing for the three metre prop, which was used to support a concrete slab, when it fell over a parapet at the Collins St site at about 8am, and struck a work shed 53 levels below.

No one was injured in this incident.

“We are thankful there were no injuries, but this is a stark reminder to every duty holder that managing risks associated with falling objects is a priority,” said WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Julie Nielsen.

She said falling objects were a leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.

“There have been five deaths and 721 injuries caused by falling objects at construction sites in the past five years,” said Ms. Nielsen.

“Measures to control risks for falling objects are well known so there is no excuse for duty holders not to implement them.”

Employers and site duty holders are reminded to ensure they prevent falling objects by:

  • Eliminating the risk through off-site assembly of equipment that would otherwise be performed at an elevated edge.
  • Using containment systems or securing objects through substitution, isolation or engineering controls
  • Using guardrail 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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