Urge to stay safe at heights after worker death
One worker has died and 11 serious incidents from falls at Victorian worksites since late July.
One of those 11 workers fell from a roof while installing solar panels.
WorkSafe Victoria is calling on employers to manage the risks of working at heights.
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A 23-year-old carpenter died in hospital on Thursday after suffering critical head injuries in a suspected three-metre fall at a Moonee Ponds construction site last week.
The tragic death follows 11 serious incidents involving falls from height since 24 July, including:
- A worker who suffered serious injuries after falling about 4.5 metres while removing ceiling panels at a Reservoir factory.
- An apprentice who fell about six metres from a ladder at a construction site at Oakleigh, suffering broken bones and suspected internal injuries.
- A worker who sustained serious injuries after falling about 3.5 metres from the roof of a Kensington property while installing solar panels.
- A worker who suffered chest and facial injuries after falling about three metres from an unloading dock in Thomastown.
Falls from heights are preventable workplace injuries but remain one of the biggest causes of death and serious injuries in Victorian, and Australian, workplaces.
Multiple businesses and directors across the construction industries have been prosecuted due to deaths and injuries from falling at work.
In July, the company Lagondar Nominees Pty Ltd and its director Emil Lagondar were convicted and fined a combined $375,000 after a worker fell to his death from an unsecured cage elevated by a forklift at a Clayton warehouse in 2019.
In June, painter and decorator Adam Nelson was convicted and fined $40,000 after a sub-contractor was seriously injured after falling through a skylight on a property at Strathmerton in 2018.
In February, roof truss manufacturer Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $45,000 for a lack of fall prevention at a Cranbourne North building site in 2018.
To prevent falls from height employers can:
- Eliminate the risk by, where practicable, doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
- Use a passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms.
- Use a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system, to ensure employees work within a safe area.
- Use a fall arrest system, such as a harness, catch platform or safety nets, to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall.
- Use a fixed or portable ladder or implement administrative controls.
Master Electricians have unlimited, direct access to the MEA Safety teams. If you need support or advice on safety phone 1300 889 198.