Warning after two construction falls in less than 24 hours

WorkSafe is urging employers in the construction industry to be aware of the serious risks when working from height following two serious incidents in the past 24 hours.


A man in his 40s suffered life threatening injuries after he fell about 3m from a ladder at a townhouse under construction at Rosebud early today.

The incident followed the death of a man in his 30s after he fell about 5m into a trench at a housing estate at Wallan yesterday.

WorkSafe’s Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety, Michael Coffey, said the two incidents were a tragic reminder that falls can have catastrophic consequences for workers.

“Falls are an all too common occurrence in the construction industry, and employers must do everything they can to protect their workers," Mr Coffey said.

"That one worker has died and another has been seriously injured in this way is simply unacceptable."

Mr Coffey said employers had to ensure that the risk of falls on any worksite were controlled, and that their workers followed safe systems of work at all times.

“The control measures are well known and readily available, so there is no excuse for not having them in place,” Mr Coffey said.

WorkSafe is investigating both incidents.

Employers can:

  • Eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.

They can also:

  • Use fall prevention devices such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, elevated work platforms or safety mesh.
  • Use travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems.
  • Use suitable equipment for working at height. A step platform with handrails provides a larger, more stable surface than a ladder.