Working at heights is a high risk activity and a leading cause of death and serious injury in Australia.
Safe Work Australia data shows that over the past 5 years, there were 122 fatalities from falls from heights. This accounted for 13% of worker fatalities.
Workers most at risk were those in the construction industry, with most fatalities caused by falls from buildings or other structures.
Serious workers’ compensation claims that resulted from falls from heights declined 17% between 2009-10 and 2018-19, however, during this period, falls from heights still accounted for 6% of serious claims.
If you manage or are in control of a workplace, you have a responsibility to eliminate or minimise the risk of falls from heights.
Eliminating the risk may include working on the ground or on a solid structure. Minimising the risk may involve using:
- fall prevention devices (e.g. fences, edge protection)
- work positioning systems (e.g. an elevating work platform), or
- fall arrest systems (i.e. safety nets, harnesses).
In most cases, a combination of control measures will provide the best solution to minimise the risk to the lowest level reasonably practicable.
For practical guidance, read our model Code of Practice: Managing the risk of falls at workplaces and model Code of Practice: Managing the risk of falls in housing construction.
We’ve also published three infographics that can be downloaded and shared with your workers or placed around your workplace:
A fall from any height can be dangerous, make sure you’re managing the risks.