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Ladder safety blitz targets Victorian construction sites

A three-week ladder safety blitz is underway in Victoria, targeting apartment developments and housing estates following a number of serious incidents since November last year.

WorkSafe has visited 70 sites and identified 28 contraventions of health and safety legislation since the program started on September 20.

There have been at least 62 incidents reported to WorkSafe involving ladders on construction sites since January.

Portable ladders are one of the most unstable tools for working at height or providing access to platforms and scaffolding.

Employers must ensure they remove or reduce risks to workers when working from height and should consider alternatives to ladders if possible.

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“Too many Victorians are not making it home to their friends and families after falling from portable ladders – and dozens more have been injured,” said Workplace Safety Minister, Jill Hennessy.

“This blitz is about ensuring employers are doing the right thing by their staff.

“It is every employer’s responsibility to keep their workers safe on the job. This includes eliminating or reducing the risks of using a portable ladder.”

WorkSafe can prosecute employers who fail to protect their workers from the risks associated with ladders.

Earlier this year, the Victorian Government announced a Workplace Manslaughter Implementation Taskforce to develop new legislation to make workplace manslaughter a criminal offence.

Under the proposed new laws, employers can face fines of almost $16 million, with individuals responsible for negligently causing death to be held accountable and facing a potential 20 years in jail.

“Even a fall from a low height can have serious consequences, so it is important that employers remain vigilant in ensuring they meet all their occupational health and safety obligations,” said WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Julie Nielsen.

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