The Formwork Industry Association (FIA) strives to continuously improve competence and safety across the Formwork industry by bringing the industry together for networking, advocacy and knowledge sharing to raise standards and minimise risk.

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SafeWork NSW inspectors are targeting work at heights safety, as part of our ongoing focus on reducing fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry.

21 Sep 2020 10:29 AM | Anonymous

On the spot fines of up to $3,600 for businesses and $720 for individuals apply for putting workers lives at risk when working at heights.

So far this year there have been 3 fatal and 25 serious falls reported to SafeWork NSW in the construction industry alone, 8 of which were falls through fragile or brittle roofs including skylights.

SafeWork inspectors continue to see unacceptable compliance levels when it comes to working at heights on construction sites, with Sydney sites being the worst offenders.

During the blitz, inspectors will focus on work near voids and edges, and on roofs. Inspectors will take a zero-tolerance approach to those putting workers lives at risk when it comes to working at heights.

What you can do:

Here are some things you can do to protect workers:

  • Eliminate the need to work from heights where possible
  • Assess roofs for fragile and brittle materials and ensure controls are in place to prevent persons falling through the roof
  • Provide adequate edge protection by using jump screens, scaffolding or guardrails - ensuring ALL components are in place
  • Securely cover and visibly mark, or edge protect, all open voids/penetrations in formwork or concrete slabs
  • Ensure scaffolds are installed, regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person, and that a handover certificate is provided prior to use
  • Use a suitable working platform such as scaffolding, boom lifts or scissor lifts
  • Provide workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas
  • Only use fall restraint or fall arrest systems when edge protection or work platforms are not reasonably practicable
  • Many falls take place when people are using ladders. You should consider whether an elevating work platform or scaffolding would be safer and more efficient.

For practical tips on how to work safely at heights in construction, SafeWork has developed a simple checklist for principal contractors and site supervisors. 

results from last years’ blitz

For more information see the SafeWork NSW website working at heights web page, or call 13 10 50.


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