SafeWork NSW soon to issue penalty notices of up to $3600 for failure to protect workers against falls from heights

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SafeWork NSW will soon be using penalty notices of up to $3600 to workplaces that fail to protect employees against falls from heights.

Under amendments to the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation, SafeWork NSW inspectors will be able to issue penalty notices of $3600 to corporations and $720 to individuals for breaches relating to falls from heights.

Fines can be issued on-the-spot if the risk of injury to workers is imminent or serious, or if the workplace is a repeat offender.

“Every NSW worker has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, so they can return to their homes and loved ones at the end of the day,” said SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy.

“A fall, even from a relatively low height, can result in serious injury or death. Most incidents could have been prevented if safe work systems such as safety harnesses or work platforms had been used.”

This year alone, the agency had attended 234 incidents involving falls from heights, including eight fatalities. More than half of these incidents occurred in the construction industry.

“It is simply unacceptable that some employers are willing to put their workers’ lives at risk just to make extra money,” said Mr. Dunphy.

“Fining employers that ignore their work health and safety obligations will create a level playing field for those employers who take safety seriously, while also saving lives.”

New fines for individuals who carry out asbestos removal or prescribed high-risk work without a licence have also been gazetted. All new penalty notices will come into force from 1 November 2017.

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