26 September 2023

SafeWork’s campaign has 12-month surprises

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SafeWork NSW has launched a 12-month campaign of surprise inspections to reduce fatal falls on NSW building sites.

Head of SafeWork, Natasha Mann said falls from height injuries accounted for more than 50 per cent of all injuries in the construction sector, while 44 per cent of falls from heights workers’ compensation claims were from the construction sector.

“The average cost of heights-related workers’ compensation claims is $167,000 which is three times the cost of non-height related claims – and 60 per cent of falls from heights in construction were major claims,” Ms Mann said.

“SafeWork NSW offers up to $1,000 to businesses to help pay for safety solutions, such as roof guard rails, to ensure workers get home safe,” she said.

“Businesses and workers need to take the time to plan and manage risks before starting any work at height.”

Minister for Work Health and Safety, Sophie Cotsis said the anytime, anywhere campaign followed concerns raised by a district court judge over the alarming rise in ‘fall from heights’ incidents leading to serious injury and death.

Ms Cotsis said the campaign would see inspectors on the ground visiting construction sites across the State and would not hesitate to stop work on site, issue fines and consider prosecution against businesses and individuals breaking the law and flaunting critical safety regulations.

“A fall from as little as two metres can cause catastrophic injury or even death,” Ms Cotsis said.

“My message is this: expect an unannounced visit from an inspector who will throw the book at anyone breaking the law,” she said.

“We have to end this “she’ll be right mate” mentality.

Ms Cotsis said falls from heights were completely preventable with tried and tested measures such as using roof guard rails, harnesses and covering voids, “there is no excuse.”

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