NT WorkSafe recently issued a safety alert highlighting the dangers of unguarded voids (also known as penetrations) on construction sites and the requirement to manage the risk of falls following a number of serious incidents.
Falling through unguarded voids is a contributing factor to a number of serious injuries and deaths in the construction industry, and three serious incidents have occurred in the past four years on Territory construction sites due to unguarded voids.
In the first incident, a 19-year-old worker broke his leg after falling approximately 2.9 metres through a void at a residential construction site.
NT WorkSafe charged the two companies involved.
In the second incident, a 31-year-old worker fell 3 metres through a void onto concrete during asbestos removal at a Darwin school.
The worker suffered fractures to his shoulder and spine and was unable to work for over a year.
NT WorkSafe charged the principal contractor of the worksite and the worker’s employer over the incident.
In the third incident, a 60-year-old worker died after falling over 3 metres through a void onto concrete.
The incident, which occurred at a residential construction site in the suburb of Bayview, is currently under investigation.
The safety alert subsequently recommended a number of required actions: