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Industry News, Latest News, Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria targets height risks

Standards Australia has published new specifications for aluminium composite panels (ACP) to help identify them following fires at Lacrosse and Grenfell.

The Victorian Government has warned employers that they will be held accountable for putting workers lives at risk when working at height.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors have been targeting work sites since November 2019 with a focus on fall prevention, scaffolding safety and ladder use in the construction industry following two fall-related fatalities and a number of serious incidents last year.

Falls from height compliance issues have been identified in almost 220 checklists in visits to domestic and commercial construction sites.

More than 75 enforcement notices have been issued, with three quarters of those relating to uncontrolled fall risks and height related safety failures, including 14 scaffolding issues.

In addition, 23 directions to cease work due to the immediate risks to worker health and safety.

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One of the most serious non-compliance issues that was identified was at a commercial site where inadequate fall protection left workers at risk of falling 60 metres.

In a further 61 instances, non-compliance issues such as out of date safe work method statements and faulty equipment were able to be fixed while inspectors were still on site.

WorkSafe has already been notified of nine workers seriously injured in falls at construction sites in 2020.

Visits will continue to sites, with fall prevention and scaffolding safety high on the priority list.

“The construction industry is growing across all sectors and it is essential the health and safety of workers remains a priority on every worksite,” Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said.

“Already this year a number of workers have been seriously injured in falls at construction sites in incidents that could have been avoided.”

“It is every employer’s responsibility to keep their workers safe or face the full consequences of the law.”

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