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Height Safety in Focus for Victoria

The safety of scaffolds, ladders and fall prevention systems has been in focus for WorkSafe inspectors.

Since late 2019, WorkSafe Victoria has been targeting Melbourne businesses to ensure they comply with WHS regulations.

Beginning in November, the safety of scaffolds, ladders and fall prevention systems has been the focus for inspectors, following two recent fatalities and a swathe of serious incidents in the construction industry.

Nine serious incidents have already occurred in 2020, and WorkSafe Victoria will continue to visit work sites and ensure systems and processes are up to code.

The risks of working at height

A wide range of risks come into play whenever working at height is involved. Falls, of course, are the main concern with the potential for serious injury or death. There is also increased need for vigilance around minor trip hazards such as cables lying across a walkway; as seemingly minor hazards can have extreme consequences when height is added to the equation.

Preventing falls

Ladders, work platforms and scaffolding all require approved installation and scrupulous inspection before use to ensure their safety.

Edge protection fencing provides a good temporary solution to lower the risk of falls from multi-deck structures whilst they are still under construction, and it can be used to surround pits to address these fall hazards.

Dropped tools

An edge protection fence also prevents tools for rolling off the edge of structures and becoming a projectile, as the fence has a kick plate at the bottom with no gap beneath it.

Another way to manage the risk of falling tools is with tool lanyards. These simple tethers are purpose-designed for different weights and ensure your tools stay on your belt or holster.

Check your harness

Safety harnesses should be worn when working at height, and there are a wide range that are specifically designed for different work functions, such as harnesses for roofers and models for confined space entry. Each or project has different needs so make sure you’ve got the right harness for the job.

Never work alone

Above all, it’s important to always work with a buddy or a team when you’re working in any potentially dangerous situation. Whether you are working on a multi-story development or on a simple residential roof, always have another worker with you in case of an accident or emergency situation.

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