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One worker paid a serious penalty when he fell through a gap, or ‘void’, on a construction site. This video reminds us of the hazards and gives some simple steps to control them.

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Who is this presentation for?

Builders, architects and project managers, construction sector educators, and new or young workers, all need to understand the risks which voids pose to workers’ health and safety.

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About the presenter

SafeWork NSW is the government body that regulates work health and safety in New South Wales – but the hazard and the solutions are the same wherever you are working. Nathan McDonald is a SafeWork NSW inspector.

Voids in house construction video safety alert transcript

SafeWork NSW

Nathan McDonald, WorkCover Inspector: An experienced worker suffered a serious brain injury when he fell through a stair void on a house construction site.

If you work in house construction, keep your people safe.

*text on screen: Voids in house construction safety alert.

The 60-year-old worker was on the first floor helping to move some materials when he tripped and fell through the void.

Hitting the ground from three metres, he suffered multiple fractures and a serious brain injury – and hasn’t worked since.

There was no barrier to stop anyone falling through the void.

*text on screen: What should I do? Simple steps.

*text on screen: Cover the void.

To stop this happening at your workplace, plan so that you have a fixed cover ready to install as soon as any void is cut. The cover must be strong enough for people, materials and likely impacts. That’s the simplest way to make your void safe.

Where a fixed cover isn’t possible, choose what else will work for your site. This could be:

*text on screen: Use a working platform, and/or install a barrier.

  • A working platform that keeps workers away from the void and/or a physical barrier such as a secure fence or edge protection. 

It’s always important to explain your void protection to everyone on-site, and make sure they know what to do if changes are needed. This includes your workers, subbies and other visitors to your site. 

*text on screen: Educate everyone on-site.

Work safe. Home safe.

*text on screen: To prevent falls through voids:

  • Cover the void and educate everyone on-site.
  • If you can’t use a cover, use a working platform and/or install a barrier.

We are here to help.

Call 13 10 50 Visit workcover.nsw.gov.au


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Last modified on Wednesday 30 January 2019 [41|88201]