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SAFEWORK NSW CONSTRUCTION BLITZ ON FALLS FROM HEIGHTS

BLITZ VISITS SafeWork NSW Inspectors ‘flooded’ suburbs where there was a high concentration of building work, to talk to employers and workers about how to work safely at heights, and to take enforcement action where appropriate. Inspectors undertook over 1000 site visits state-wide to look at: • scaffold compliance • void/edge protection • formwork systems • safe ladder use • safety planning • consultation. Inspectors found a large number of sites where workers were at risk of falls from incomplete scaffolds and unprotected edges. The highest levels of non-compliance involved: • scaffolds having missing planks, ledgers or hopups, • inadequate edge protection on building edges and roofs. We measured the difference in compliance levels observed when the Blitz first began in 2017, and the level of compliance observed in 2018 and found many improvements as well as some areas with decreasing levels of safety. Overall, Inspectors observed an improvement in compliance of between 1–9% in 21 of the 29 safety checklist items. NOTICES AND ON-THE-SPOT FINES Inspectors issued 1258 notices during Blitz visits, including 93 falls related on-thespot fines to the value of $265,680. On-the-spot fines were issued if the risk to workers was imminent or serious, or if the workplace was a repeat offender. Most notices were issued for general falls risks including inadequate or no edge protection, followed by electrical hazards and then non-compliant scaffolds


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