OSH alert - Fall prevention breach (December 2016)

Key learnings from a High Potential Incident

Fall from heights iconHPI OSH Alert #486

Date of incident: 16 December 2016

Safety Flash issued: 21 December 2016


What happened?

Location of fall prevention breachA contractor was observed working on a roof approximately 2.5 metres above the ground. They were clearing gutters and roof valleys whilst wearing a Fall Injury Prevention System (FIPS), but were not attached to the roof anchor points provided.

Why did this happen?

  • The contractor initially assessed the hazards, risks and controls of the workplace but elected to re-assess the risk and made an incorrect decision to not remain attached on one section of roof.
  • The contractor had not notified the site of their visit prior to arrival and no Clearance to Work (CTW) was issued.
  • Access to the site was allowed without a site induction having been performed.
  • Access to the site was allowed without viewing a JSEA or risk assessment for task to be performed.

What will the business area involved in the incident do to stop this from happening again?

  • Complete a Toolbox talk on the current procedure/process to grant contractors site access.
  • SDMs to review and nominate individuals authorised to provide a CTW, update the list and ensure it is located at the front desk with the site access information pack.

What will our organisation do to stop this from happening again?

  • Review the current need to provide five days’ notice to gain a CTW and resolve how this would be applied when reactive repair work is required.
  • Develop a Toolbox to reinforce the protocols for contractor site access i.e. Inductions, PPE and CTW across the whole organisation.
  • Conduct briefings on contractor site access protocols to all depot and office employees including those nominated to provide CTW.


What key learnings can you discuss with your team to stop this from happening again?

It is essential to follow the correct process for granting contractors access to site.

  • What are the main steps of the correct process to grant contractors access to site?
  • What do we need to check contractors have before gaining access to our site?
  • Who are the CTW authorised persons for our site and where can we find this information?

How do we ensure Contractors and Sub Contractors understand and adhere to requirements?

  • What checks do we perform when we have contractors onsite?
  • How do we make people aware when contractors will be onsite?

Never work at heights without assessing and controlling the risk of a fall

  • Is anyone undertaking work that is associated with our ’Fall Prevention’ Safety Essential today?
  • Do you have the appropriate permission/authorisation, qualifications and resources to undertake this work and are you competent to perform the task safely?
  • Has a task specific JSEA or Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) been developed, reviewed by the Site Manager and signed by the working group for your supervisor to review before the task can commence?

Further information

If you would like further information about anything included in this HPI OSH Alert, please contact Charis Neumann, Snr OSH Analyst Incidents on (08) 6330 6629.