Accident Advisory: Worker fell from height

Ref No.: 311218 (1)
UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker fell from height

Ref: 1819070 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 7 December 2018
On 1 December 2018 around 1pm, a worker was carrying out works on the third storey of a private dwelling under construction. At about 1.30pm, he was found lying unconscious on the second storey by a co-worker. The worker, who is believed to have fallen off, was conveyed to the hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries that same afternoon.
      
                                             Figure 1: Overview of the accident scene.

Recommendations

Persons in control of similar workplaces and work activities such as occupiers, employers and contractors are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:

Fall prevention plan

For all works that involve work-at-height, ensure that a Fall Prevention Plan (FPP) is in place and adequate fall prevention or protection measures have been effectively implemented prior to work commencement.Refer to the Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights for more details on establishing a FPP.

Effective edge protection
• Install guard-rails at all open edges of a worksite where a worker could fall from.
Guard rails (see Figure 2) should comprise a principal guard-rail (top rail) and
an intermediate guard rail (mid rail). The guard rails must be of good construction
and condition, and be able to withstand the weight of a person applied on it from
any direction and at any point.
                             
                             Figure 2: Dimension requirements for a temporary edge protection
• For safe installation of the guard-rail system, ensure that workers are equipped
with the necessary fall prevention/protection equipment such as a travel restraint
or personal fall arrest system.

Work sequence
• Review the sequence of work to assess the risks to workplace safety and health.
In this case, the door touch-up work could have been carried out after the
edge protection (of permanent construction such as a parapet wall) had
been constructed on the third storey. A change in work sequence could have
made the workplace safer for door touch-up work activity.

Permit-to-Work
• Implement a Permit-to-Work system (PTW) system for work at heights where a
person could fall from a height of more than 3 metres (referred to as hazardous
work at height).
• Permit authorisers must ensure the following before allowing the work at height
activity to proceed:
– Proper permit-to-work eveluation has been completed.
– There are no incompatible works.
– Control measures have been effectively implemented.
– Fall-from-height risks have been effectively mitigated.
Refer to Regulations 20 to 28 of the Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013 and the Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights for more details on implementing a PTW system for work at heights.

Worker training and behaviour
• Provide sufficient work-at-height training to workers who are exposed to the risk
of falling so that they can take the necessary precautions to perform their work
safely. Educate workers on the fall-from-height risk control measures implemented
on site.
• Consider implementing a Behavioural Observation and Intervention programme to
instil safe work practices in all workers and reduce the incidence of at-risk
work behaviours.

Work supervision
• Ensure that there is adequate supervision for activities involving work at heights.
This is to ensure that safe work procedures are adhered to at all times.
• Inspect the work area regularly for safety lapses and stop the work as necessary
until all lapses have been suitably rectified.

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work-at-height activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise. The RA should cover, but not limited, to the following areas:

Working near an open side
• As far as reasonably practicable, eliminate the need to access work areas
that are near openings from which a person could fall from. Where access is
necessary by workers who work at heights, ensure the risks have been identified
   and controlled, and fall prevention/protection measures are implemented and
strictly adhered to before work commencement.

Worker wellbeing
• Remind workers to adopt safe work practices. Provide workers with adequate
rest and remind them to stay hydrated. Encourage workers to report to their
supervisors if they are under medication, feeling unwell, or experiencing
severe fatigue.

References

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
4. Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
5. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations 2007
6. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
7. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights
8. SS 567: 2011: Code of Practice for Factory Layout – Safety, Health and
Welfare  Consideration
9. BS EN 13374:2013 Temporary edge protection systems. Product specification.
Test methods.
10. WSH Guidelines on Anchorage, Lifelines and Temporary Edge Protection Systems
11. WSH Guidelines on Personal Protective Equipment for Work At Heights
12. WSH Guide to Behavioural Observation and Intervention
13. WSH Council’s Case Studies on Accidents Involving Work at Heights
14. WSH Council’s Work at Heights Toolkit for Supervisors
15. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist for Working Safely at Heights
16. WSH Council’s 6 Basic Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Rules for Working
at Heights