goes up must come down. There aren’t many
things everyone can agree on, but that basic
rule of physics seems to be pretty common ground.
For anyone working at heights, it’s not
a matter of if but how you come down: safely
and carefully with all your body parts intact,
or with a crash and bang that leaves you in
a wheelchair - or a coffin.
have been a major cause of injury and death
in the construction industry. In recent years
initiatives by industry and by OSH have seen
that number reduce, but the cost of falls from
heights is still far, far to great.
the 12 months from July 2002 to June 2003, five
workers fell to their deaths on New Zealand
construction sites. In the construction industry,
falls from ladders alone are estimated to cost
the country $17 million a year.
You Can Do To Work Safely At Heights
don’t mean mucho. A macho attitude stops
lots of guys from working safely. They think
they look like a wuss if they take steps to
keep themselves safe. Plus, many find that workmates
take the piss if someone tries to stay safe
by tying off their ladder, wearing a harness
or checking a scaffold is properly put together.
That was the same attitude we saw 30 years ago
when someone jumped in the ute and pulled a
seatbelt on: now no one thinks twice about it.
Attitudes to safety can change, and it’s
up to each person to look out for themselves.
Even the toughest nut will be wishing he worked
safe when he’s hobbling around home on
crutches while the business goes down the gurgler.
Open your eyes. Safety on site is not a matter
of filling out forms and passing inspections.
It’s about using your eyes, your brains
and your experience to see accidents before
they happen, and do something about it. How
often have you found yourself thinking 'hmm
someone could easily trip over that and fall'
- but you do nothing about it and sure enough
it happens. Shiny safety manuals that no one
uses are not the answer. To keep your worksite
safe, you need to be actively looking for problems
and avoiding them, just as a driver scans the
road ahead to see where a danger might be coming
Use the right gear. Ever seen a woman hammer
in a nail with a high-heeled shoe? It’s
the kind of thing we love to laugh about. But
how many of us do the same - using bodgy equipment
that just isn’t right for the job? Some
of the scaffolds and work platforms OSH inspectors
see in use are just accidents waiting to happen.
And we see a lot of home ladders being used
on building sites. To do a decent job, use decent