Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


‘Small Falls’ Can Still Destroy Lives

4 September 2012

‘Small Falls’ Can Still Destroy Lives

The Labour Group of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is warning the construction industry that any fall from height is a dangerous fall, and says the industry must change its behaviour if the injury rate is to come down.

“The numbers of reported incidents of falls from height is still a real problem. Across the construction industry the cost of these falls is estimated to be more than $24 million a year – to say nothing of the human cost,” says the Labour Group’s Programme Manager – Harm Reduction, Francois Barton.

“What is of most concern to the Labour Group is the belief in some areas of the construction industry that falls from three metres or less are ‘small falls’ and nothing to worry about.”

“This is far from the truth. On a weekly basis our inspectors deal with cases such as this, which in some cases have left people with life-changing injuries. In a recent accident an apprentice was paralysed from the neck down after he fell three metres from a roof.”

“There is a perception in the industry that dangerous activities such as walking the top plate without any controls in place is ‘just part of the job’ or a ‘rite of passage’ for builders, and this needs to change. Just because it’s been done that way in the past doesn’t mean these unsafe practices should continue. Quick jobs at low-levels are just as likely to cause serious injury and workers must take precautions.”

More injuries happen on residential building sites than any other workplace in the construction sector.

Factors contributing to injuries sustained from working at height include:
• lack of or inadequate planning and hazard assessment
• inadequate supervision
• insufficient training for the task being carried out
• incorrect protection or equipment choices
• incorrect use or set-up of equipment including personal protective equipment
• unwillingness to change the way a task is carried out when a safer alternative is identified
• suitable equipment being unavailable.

Reducing the number of injuries caused by falls from height is a top priority for the Labour Group and this work is being carried out through the Preventing Falls from Height project.

The project uses education and enforcement in order to target dangerous and unsafe working practices.

For more information about preventing falls while working at height and about the Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand, visit or call the Labour Group on 0800 20 90 20.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Cartel Conduct Now Punishable By Up To 7 Years’ Jail Time

Cartel conduct can now be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, after the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 came into effect today. Cartel conduct includes price fixing, market allocation and bid rigging (see ... More>>

Stats NZ: Auckland Population May Hit 2 Million In Early 2030s

Auckland’s population may rise from about 1.7 million currently to 2 million by early next decade, Stats NZ said today. “Auckland will likely have the highest average annual growth of New Zealand’s 16 regions over the next 30 years, from ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Business Travellers Return To The Skies In Record Numbers

After a year of talking to a computer, Kiwis are leaving the office to re-connect with their clients, suppliers, and staff. New figures released by Air New Zealand show domestic business and corporate travel has defied global trends by returning ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>

LPG Association: Renewable LPG Achieves Emissions Budgets With No Need To Ban New LPG Connections

Renewable LPG can supply New Zealand’s LPG needs and achieve the emissions reductions proposed by the Climate Commission without the need to ban new connections, a new study shows. The investigation, by leading consultancy Worley, was prepared for the ... More>>

Commerce: House Values Continue To Climb As New Government Measures Announced

The Government’s new initiatives to quell the rocketing housing market were announced last week, just as house prices hit a new high for the end of March. The average value increased 7.8% nationally over the past three-month period, up from the 6.8% ... More>>