Halfway through SafeWork SA’s audit campaign focusing on risk of falls in residential construction and more than 100 statutory notices have been issued for work health and safety breaches.

Since 1 March 2021, SafeWork SA inspectors have been targeting fall from height and scaffolding risks at residential construction sites across the state.

At the halfway point of the six-month long campaign, SafeWork SA inspectors have issued 60 prohibition notices and 43 improvement notices associated with managing risk of falls, with the most commonly identified risks relating to working near live edges and non-compliant scaffolding.

Worker standing on top of a ladder which is set up on a scaffold. No fall protection is in place.
Breach observed during compliance audit showing non-compliant scaffolding and unsafe ladder use.

A further 20 notices were issued for non-compliances identified that were not related to falls from height.

SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director, Glenn Farrell said the campaign has found that workers and contractors on residential construction sites are being put at risk with 24 prohibition and 11 improvement notices issued for unsafe scaffolding alone.

“Falls too often result in serious injuries that could have a significant impact on the ability of the worker to continue working in the industry, or worse, sustain fatal injuries”, said Mr Farrell.

“I have informed SafeWork SA inspectors to have a zero tolerance approach to sites that do not take the risk of falls seriously”, he said.

Earlier this month, a worker fell approximately five metres while working at height, resulting in serious injuries. While the incident did not occur at a residential construction site, it clearly shows the consequences of not managing the risk of falls.

SafeWork SA have released a 2020 Health and Safety Snapshot with data relating to falls from heights.

Carpenters are identified as being most at risk for falls from heights. To help address working at height risks SafeWork SA has developed new guidance information on Roofing work – roof battens.

Safety concerns can be reported to SafeWork SA or phone 1300 365 255 during business hours.

Further information

Managing the risk of falls in the workplace – Approved Code of Practice

Slips, trips & falls, including the Managing risk of falls video series

Safe work on roofs information sheet – Safe Work Australia

SWMS for high risk construction work

Guardrail systems for roof work

Stairwells, atriums and voids

Managing the risk of falls in housing construction – Model Code of practice

Contractor management

Installing Prefabricated Roof Trusses