Inspectors with NT WorkSafe say they are cracking down on a trend of “unacceptable risk-taking” involving Territory construction companies permitting workers to work at heights without the proper safety mechanisms in place.
NT WorkSafe has issued incident information on the latest working at heights incident to encourage the industry to take steps to minimise the risk of falls in their workplace since falls from a height were the main cause of work-related fatalities in the NT in 2019-20.
Last week, NT WorkSafe said they caught a supervisor and a worker on a ten-storey roof without fall protection.
The supervisor reportedly admitted to breaching safety requirements and NT WorkSafe said enforcement action is underway.
NT WorkSafe did not name the company involved in the latest incident.
But they said inspectors have encountered “a trend of unacceptable risk-taking and non-compliance when working at heights in construction”.
In 2021, WorkSafe Inspectors said they have issued 12 improvement notices, 12 prohibition notices and eight infringement notices to the construction industry for non-compliance issues with working at heights.
“Working on top of multiple storey buildings without fall prevention is inexcusable,“ Work Health and Safety Regulator Bill Esteves said.
“Statistically, the odds are against workers who take this type of shortcut, and sadly, the consequences are often devastating.”
Slips, trips, and falls are the third most common mechanism of injury for Territory workers, accounting for over 20 per cent of all serious injury claims in the Northern Territory during 2019-20, according to data from NT WorkSafe.
“This has resulted in a total of 1090 weeks of lost time to Territory industry, and NT WorkSafe’s Strategic Plan highlights this as a priority area for improvement,” the agency said in a statement.
“NT WorkSafe encourages industry to take steps to minimise the risk of slips, trips and falls in their workplace, and this week Inspectors will be visiting businesses to provide information and advice about how to do this,” it reads.
In the 2019-20 financial year’s worker’s compensation and work-related fatality statistics, falls from a height were the main cause of work-related fatalities.
Meanwhile, 30.3 per cent of all worker’s compensation claims were for a serious injury.
The highest proportion of serious injury claims were from workers aged 25-34.
Additionally, body-stressing was the main cause of serious injury in the NT.