29th May, 2014

Heavy vehicles and falls both big threats to workers

Australia’s construction sites continue to pose risks for tradies – especially those operating at heights and around heavy machinery, according to Safe Work Australia.

Between 2003 and 2011, there were 232 worker deaths in Australia as a result of falls. Among all falls in the country, the construction industry accounted for one-third, making it an especially dangerous profession.

On top of the statistics for serious falls, Safe Work Australia found that every year 80 people are killed while working in or near trucks. The organisation pointed to issues such as driver fatigue and lack of concentration to explain these figures.

There was some overlap between the two statistics, as a number of serious falls occur from vehicles. Even stationary vehicles can be a big hazard for workers.

These workplace injuries can cause a big headache for employers. A typical worker who suffered a workplace injury was forced to take more than six weeks off work to recover.

How you can prevent workplace injuries

The first step to preventing workplace falls is to consider the risks posed by your site. Workers operating at heights or around heavy machinery are especially vulnerable to workplace injuries or death.

Make sure that any vehicle operators are aware of the safety risks posed by their vehicles. Emphasising the importance of small actions like applying the hand brake can make all the difference on a busy construction site.

Keeping machinery properly maintained and ensuring cargo is effectively secured will also limit the risks posed by vehicles on your construction site.

Making sure you have effective insurance will also protect your company against unforeseen circumstances. A comprehensive insurance policy will allow for things workers’ compensation and any public liability to be handled quickly and with a minimum disruption to business.

Taking steps to minimise these risks will not only improve the safety of your workers, as maintaining a safe workplace can also be a big boost to your employee morale.

Author: Murray Bruce