The Risks of Working at Height in Australia Are Revealed

The Risks of Working at Height in Australia Are Revealed

03rd December 2020

Safe Work Australia has recently brought out some figures that reveal the dangers of working at heights. As one of the main causes of serious injury or death at work in the country, working far off the ground has claimed many fatal victims in recent years but the right safety measures can help to reduce the risk.

The Data

The report showed that there have been 122 fatal accidents caused by falling from height in Australia during the last five years. This means that 13% of all worker fatalities are due to this type of incident.    

Construction workers are most at risk, as this is the industry with the greatest number of fatal injuries due to falls from height. In many cases, the incident involves the worker falling from a building or some other sort of tall structure.  Scaffolding, floor openings and trucks are other entities that can lead to serious falls occurring.  

Delving deeper, we can see that 15% of all fatal accidents like this came from falls from a roof and 16% from working on a ladder. 40% were related to the construction industry and 66% involved workers aged 45 and above.

In terms of claims for compensation from serious injuries, those coming from falls have dropped by 17% in the last decade. Despite this, it is reported that falls from height are still responsible for 6% of all the serious claims of this type that are made.

In this case, 17% came from falls off a ladder, and 15% involved staircases or steps. Here, we can see that 23% of claims are from the construction industry and the same percentage for workers are aged between 45 and 54.

How to Avoid Serious Injury

Thankfully, the risk of working up high can be reduced greatly by following the current guidelines. In the UK, this is governed by the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and other relevant legislation. The UK Health & Safety Executive also produces guidelines for companies to follow.

There are a range of different types of safety equipment that can be used to make this sort of job safer. These include safety ladders, nets and a fall protection post. Even a fall from a relatively low height can have serious consequences if these measures aren’t in place.

When using a ladder, several points of contact should be used at all times, with a belt or pouch used to give easy, safe access to tools. Non-slip footwear should be worn and no-one else should be on the ladder or working directly underneath it at the same time it is being used.

By sticking to this good advice, the risk of serious injury resulting from a fall at work is greatly reduced. It is hoped that the recent decline in these incidents taking place in the UK, Australia and elsewhere is a sign that employers and their workers are now taking this subject more seriously and following the guidelines as closely as they can.