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MARCH 2015

What’s new this month?

EDITORIAL Happy New Year to you and yours. We hope 2015 has gotten off to a safe and productive start for your team. Thank you to those who provided feedback on the December issue of Lifting Matters. Load restraint is a simple yet significant issue in the crane and construction industry, and the December issue of Lifting Matters served as a healthy reminder to triple check our load restraints. The construction industry, of which the crane industry is an integral component, accounted for 37% of fatalities caused by falling from heights in the period of 2008 to 2011. The fatality rate from falls in the construction industry for this period was four times the overall rate. This issue we look at falls, fall protection, handrails and safety harnesses. We investigate some recent fall from heights incidents, simple ways to prevent falls from occurring, and examples of where engineering innovations have eliminated the need to work at heights. We also have a reminder from Cancer Council Queensland to have a think about our diet and whether we are consuming adequate fruit and vegetables.

Please feel free to contact us at to provide feedback or insight into any of the articles you read in this issue. Visit our website to comment on our online blog at You can also download a pdf copy of the newsletter at www.liftingskills. com. au/lifting-matters/newsletter. We are happy to post out glossy full colour hard copies of Lifting Matters for your smoko room, waiting areas, and crane cabs. Email us at info@ liftingskills. with your postage address and the number of copies you require. I hope you and your team are able to receive valuable lessons on working at heights from this issue of Lifting Matters. It would be great to see the number and severity of fall from height incidents reduce over the coming months and years as we become more vigilant about fall protection and more innovative in our methodologies for work at heights. Dashelle Bailey, Editor


IN THIS ISSUE Editorial Feature Story Fall From Heights Incident Report - Sydney, NSW Incident Report - Alexandria, NSW Dumb Things Photo Gallery TRAM Fall Arrest System Harness saves life Are you eating enough fruit and vegetables? PAGE 1 | LIFTING MATTERS | MARCH 2015

01 02 - 04 05 06 06 07 - 08 09 10 10 11

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In the eight years from 2003 to 2011 there were 232 people killed in Australian work places in fall from height incidents. This is more than one death every two weeks! And the construction industry accounted for almost 40% of these. There were also a large number of deaths caused by people falling from the balconies of high buildings. These are usually people doing silly things on balconies whilst under the influence of alcohol. The incidents detailed in this Lifting Matters demonstrate the risks we take working at heights and some of the consequences. There are two key areas of focus required to minimize these accidents. The first focus is on behaviour and actions taken on the ground by individual workers at the work faces to minimize their risk of fall. These actions include taking suitable precautions such as wearing harnesses, respecting safe edge distances, and remaining within the confines of hand rails and safety barriers. It involves the ongoing effort to keep penetrations covered, rails and toe boards in place, and gates and doors closed. Everyone, especially lead hands, supervisors, and older and more experienced workers have a responsibility to monitor and coach sensible behaviour around potential fall hazards. The other key area to minimizing fall from height accidents is planning and engineering. Every equipment manager or owner, and every job manager, engineer or planner has a responsibility to DESIGN FOR SAFEFTY. This includes the design of temporary work and machinery, the design of permanent roads, buildings and other structures, and the development of methods for undertaking construction work. There are some great examples and real inspirations out there to keep us all on our toes in this regard. Hand rails and track safety systems on machine decks are now the norm. These go on cranes, trailers, tankers, excavators and many other machines, and are a well proven method to reduce risk and improve productivity. If you have any machinery at your workplace, mobile or stationary, which has an elevated ledge or deck with no handrail, then look at it closely. If people can or need to access this ledge or deck then it should be protected.


Design a suitable rail or alternative protective system and save a fall! Pictured is a trailer from Universal Cranes Roma which features the kind of access and railing I am referring to.

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Construction methods can also be used to minimize the risk of falls. A good example is the recent Smithbridge tank farm construction project in Guam. It involved the site erection of two 36m diameter, 17m high welded steel jet fuel tanks and all the associated bund and pipe work. The Smithbridge engineering team developed a methodology and the required temporary work to minimize work at height, and to make access for essential high work safer. The roof was built on the ground, and then a system of towers and jacks were used so the tank could be built on a top down basis. The roof was jacked up to 3m high, then the top wall section was installed and welded in at a maximum height of 3m above the ground on a purpose built stationary scaffold. This made access for welders, testers, and painters much more efficient and safer. After each layer of the wall was completed, then the roof and upper walls were jacked a further 3m and the next section of wall was added. This process was repeated six times until the tank was completed. The end result is a good quality product produced in a safe and efficient manner. If you are responsible for planning any sort of construction which involves heights, then I encourage you to design in systems and methods to minimize the risk of falls from height. Key issues and considerations include:1.

Make sure stair towers and ladder towers include proper rails and protection. Think especially about protection around the bottom of landing platforms where it is possible for people on a stair to trip and slip under rails.



Think carefully about access ways. Make them as wide and clear as possible, and ensure they all have suitable rails and toe boards.

3. Make sure temporary work platforms are big enough to allow safe uncongested work. If in doubt, make them bigger. 4. Avoid any work from ladders by thinking carefully about the sequence of all your activities. 5. Consider pre-erecting sections of your work on the ground. Cranes and lifting systems are readily available and competitively priced. Wherever possible minimize the high work and maximize the on ground work by preassembling large modules. 6. Use modern elevated work platforms. Ensure you have plenty of them available on site, and make sure they are plenty high enough. It is important to ensure your team will be able to complete the high work without climbing on the edge of the work platforms. 7. Think carefully about methods to protect access ways, penetrations in floors, and trip hazards. Make these simple, safe and easy to operate so they are used properly. 8. Be generous with signage. Make it relevant, bold, and in the obvious lines of sight. Field workers often get very engrossed in their jobs so they need

regular reminders and prompts to keep focus on edge distances, rails, and fall protection when it is necessary.

and place of the potential accident will reduce the risk and the horrendous number of these unnecessary deaths in the future.

9. Carefully consider, and where possible, eliminate trip hazards. Even small falls can be fatal.

Please share the fall protection issue with your work mates this week and make special mention of the risks associated with leisure time, booze, and high buildings or other objects.

We can all reduce the risk of falls and improve the safety on our job sites, and around our cranes and other machines by keeping a focus on fall protection. Every time you look at something with an elevated surface or an edge or hole, then think about protection against falls. 232 lives could have been saved in this country in the last eight years with better management of fall risks. Our planning actions and thinking long before the onsite day


Albert Smith, Managing Director, Universal Cranes Group Board Member, Crane Industry Council of Australia

Safe Work Australia

FALL FROM HEIGHTS In October 2013 Safe Work Australia released a report on work-related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height in Australia. Fatalities per 100 000 workers has reduced from 0.67 in 1992 to 0.25 in the period 2003-2011. The report highlighted that while Australia has come a long way in the reduction of fatalities and injuries due to falls from height, there is still work to be done. Key findings included:

Consider factors such as the attributes of the workplace, the duration of the required task, the height at which workers will be carrying out tasks, experience and training of the personnel, access to the work area, other concurrently occurring activity on the site, and conditions (such as weather, lighting). 4. What safety measures are needed to prevent a fall or minimise risk? Work Safe Victoria provides the following table based on the hierarchy of control, to ‘Work Safe Victoria provides the following table based on the hierarchy of control, to ‘minimise risk as far as is reasonably practical, by reference to the highest order control measure.’

•• In the 8 years from 2003 to 2011, there were 232 fatalities from a fall from height, representing 11% of all fatalities over this period •• The construction industry represented the highest percentage of fall from height fatalities of any industry, at 37% •• Within the construction industry, 64% of falls-related fatalities came from the services sector •• Falls from vehicles represented the second highest origin of fall These statistics demonstrate how falls, fall protection, safety harnesses and handrails are a serious and significant area of warranted concern for the crane industry. A failure to properly consider and prevent such incidents can result in a fatality or serious injury. The study also revealed that where a fatality did not result, a typical fall from height involved serious injuries to the head, knees, ankles, back, shoulder, wrists, and feet, and on average 6 weeks off work. How can we prevent falls from heights? Work Safe Victoria identifies five simple steps: 1.Determine what responsibilities everyone has for managing fall prevention at the workplace Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers have a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment, including preventing falls. The manager or controller of the work site also has this responsibility. Equipment manufacturers, suppliers and importers must ensure the equipment they provide is safe to use for its intended purpose. Employees are responsible for ensuring they follow any given instruction or training. At a site level, define specific responsibilities which will differ depending on the task, job, and site. 2. Identify all fall hazards For example, will you or your people be working on fragile or unstable surfaces, sloping or slippery surfaces, on any plant or structure, near an edge, hole, pit or shaft, or will you require equipment for access? If so, there is a fall hazard present. 3. Assess risks and situations where someone may fall from height


5. Implement Fall Prevention Measures Provide adequate training and information, and fall protection equipment to control the risk of fall as much as is reasonably practical 6. Ensure emergency procedures are in place in case of a fall Make sure you have an established and well understood procedure about how to rescue a person if a fall does occur, and that adequate first aid could be provided. 7. Ensure plant and prevention measures are adequate and maintained Are you using appropriate equipment, which was designed for the intended use of fall protection? Ensure this equipment is properly maintained, frequently inspected, and used correctly. 8. Check risk assessments and safety measures at every site and as the situation requires Any change in location, site conditions, and working situations, means a new risk assessment and new safety measures must be taken. Refer to pdf_file/0017/9161/basic_steps_falls_prevention.pdf and Publications/Documents/812/Falls-from-Height.pdf for more information.

February 2015

February 2015



A 19 year-old man was found dead at Balmain East Wharf in Sydney on February 5, 2015. Carl Salomon fell to his death after he and his friend scaled a 30m crane boom situated on a barge.

A two man crew were removing formwork material in wet weather on a construction site in Alexandria, New South Wales. The dogman slipped and fell from a hoarding, resulting in him spraining his left ankle and breaking his right ankle, requiring surgery and the insertion of two pins.

The pair allegedly swam out onto the barge in the early hours of February 5, and after climbing onto the barge via a tyre and mooring rope scaled the crane boom. It is unclear whether Mr Salomon fell or jumped from the crane boom. His companion heard a splash in the water, and searched for him for ten minutes before deciding he was unable to locate Mr Salomon. Salomon’s body was later found by police under the barge. Investigations are continuing but at this point it is not known if the accident was a fall or an intentional dangerous jump gone wrong. It is understood the contractor whose barge this incident occurred on took the necessary precautions by erecting fencing to prevent access to the site. In this case, the individual has climbed over the fencing. There was little more the contractor could have done to prevent this incident. This incident has prompted serious soul searching by all marine contractors with floating equipment and in particular cranes moored in public waterways on project sites. Most suggestions for improved security such as guard devices to prevent boom climbers, or fences or other measures to stop people getting aboard all involve significant increased risk for the usual responsible users of the equipment, and are therefore very difficult to justify. The best we can do is ensure the site is secured at the end of the shift. This would include inspecting your site for things such as inadequate or damaged fencing, ensuring penetrations are covered or barricaded, all tools are stored securely, and plant and equipment is parked up and secured. This is a tragic preventable accident made worse by the closeness of the Balmain community, and the connections between the families and companies involved. Our hearts go out to all involved. We need to use this tragedy as a stern reminder to all you young, invincible construction men and women that life is fragile and precious. The same standard or care and “think before you act” behaviour needs to apply when having fun outside of work, and even more so when alcohol is involved. We are all responsible for the care of the people around us, so next time one of your mates is doing something stupid under the influence of alcohol then please think of the grief and pain in Carl Salomon’s family and intervene to stop a potential incident. You will forever regret the decision to stand back when one of these pranks turns into an accident which you could have prevented.


There were a number of factors that contributed to this incident including: •• Failure to utilise fall protection while working at height, particularly in wet weather. •• Failure to complete a Safe Work Method Statement to properly identify and manage the risks. The NSW Industrial Relations Court determined the employer was at fault in their failure to ensure work did not proceed at a height in wet weather. The employer’s supervisor was not on site when the incident occurred, and allegedly ‘periodically conducted visual inspections’. Fall protection absolutely must be utilised at all times when working at heights. A failure to use fall protection in clear weather is negligent, and in wet weather it is an accident waiting to happen. Do the right thing, take the extra two minutes to wear fall protection equipment. This incident could also have been prevented through the simple completion of a Safe Work Method Statement. A straightforward analysis of the job site would have alerted the crane driver and/or supervisor to the weather conditions, the increased slipperiness on the hoarding due to the rain, and the requirement for fall protection equipment if the job site was deemed safe enough to continue. Never take for granted how a simple inspection check list and/or Safe Work Method Statement can prevent a serious incident from occurring.

Safety Feature


Smithbridge Papua New Guinea


Workers in Papua New Guinea working at height with no scaffolding, no harness, and no PPE

Earthworks – a drainage trench greater than 1.2m, but no batter and no handrail.

Working on top of trailers is always a tricky one. These workers are clipped on but could still injure themselves if they fall over the side, as their harness will cause them to swing against the load / beam.

A Smithbridge PNG worker has not clipped on his harness

And lastly, good practice!

Safety System Products

TRAM (TOTAL RESTRAINT ACCESS MODULE) - A FAMILY OF FAIL-SAFE FALL PREVENTION SAFETY SYSTEM PRODUCTS. TRAM is a unique height safety system that is simple to use, provides the wearer with full mobility and yet completely prevents the user from falling to another level. While other height safety systems will arrest a free fall, they can expose the user to suspension trauma or the risk of hitting obstacles while falling. TRAM overcomes this safety issue while also reducing the likelihood and consequence of a fall on the same level. There have been no fatalities and no injuries reported by organisations using TRAM. The system has prevented falls that would have otherwise resulted in serious injury or death. The TRAM safety system is designed so that the user is firmly attached to the unit at all times and cannot fall. The safety system includes a mechanical component that slides along a rail fixed to the crane boom and a specially designed restraint belt attached by two lanyards. The TRAM provides a handhold that moves with the operator (vertically and horizontally) and is also a moveable anchor point for the restraint belt. TRAM is considered one of the world’s best safety system for preventing falls from height when inspecting and servicing mobile cranes and other heavy equipment. TRAM is currently being used in the mining industry to allow riggers safe access to mobile crane booms, to protect maintenance workers on gantry and bridge cranes and to provide safe access to equipment mounted on the cab roofs of mobile plant machinery. In all of these applications, TRAM prevents operators falling from height and therefore avoids the risk of serious injury or a fatality. In the photos shown here TRAM system is fitted to the boom sections of a Universal Cranes Demag CC2800 600T crawler crane for use on the wind farms in South Australia.


Fall Arrest System

RESCUE PLANS FOR WORKERS IN WORKBOXES OR ELEVATED WORK PLATFORMS One of the most common applications for use of a fall arrest system is when working from either an elevated work platform or a work box supported by a crane or other lifting device. For both these scenarios, workers are required to wear a harness attached to a suitable anchorage capable of withstanding pull forces as per AS/NZ1891.4. As is required for all applications of a fall arrest system, an emergency plan needs to be in place to ensure all workers suspended in full body harnesses are rescued promptly to prevent suspension intolerance. In addition, if using either a dogbox or an elevated work platform, then consideration needs to be given to a plan for retrieving workers in the event of a plant failure (either the EWP or the lifting device used to suspend the workbox). One effective retrieval method could be to use a secondary EWP to retrieve the workers in the event of a plant failure. However some sites will not always have these resources available or site access may prevent the use of a secondary EWP. In situations where a secondary EWP is not a suitable retrieval method, then an alternative method could be to make use of a controlled descent system. The descent kit should be available in the EWP/workbox in addition to other required fall arrest equipment. All workers required to use the descent equipment

November 25, 200

HARNESS SAVES LIFE A suspension platform failed in Atlanta, Georgia when two workers were caulking windows at a height of 12m. One worker was able to scramble to safety on a ledge. The other was saved by his safety harness. The men were rescued with the use of a self-propelled boom lift. The two workers were fortunate enough to have been unharmed by the incident. The incident was caused by suspected brake failure on one of the winch motors. This incident serves as a chilling reminder of the importance of safety harnesses. This was a potentially fatally incident had it not been for correctly worn and maintained safety harnesses.


should be trained in: •• Inspection of descent equipment to ensure it is in a safe condition to use •• Correctly securing and attaching lowering device •• Lowering self to the ground Consistent with other potential emergency situations, preparedness for retrieval of workers from work box or EWP should include ensuring procedures are documented, regularly rehearsed and reviewed. A descent kit can be purchased for as little as $330.

Health and Well-being


It’s a question we all need to answer honestly – are you getting enough fruits and vegetables? If you’re in the majority, then the answer is ‘probably not’.

Let’s start with breakfast. You want to aim for a brekkie high in fibre, low in saturated fat and full of vitamins and minerals. Think smoothies made from reduced-fat milk, fresh fruit and yoghurt, eggs on wholegrain toast with tomato or even wholegrain cereal with reduced-fat milk, topped with fresh fruit and berries.

New statistics show only 5.5 per cent of us are getting our recommended daily intake. And alarmingly, only one in three of all Queensland adults are aware of how many vegetables they should be eating for optimal health.

At lunch, it’s important to have a balance of carbohydratebased foods like wholegrain bread, pasta or rice alongside high-protein foods like lean meat, tuna or egg and protein-rich dairy foods such as yoghurt and cheese.

Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. For many of us, that benchmark seems so hard to achieve that we don’t even bother trying.

Top your lunchbox with fresh fruit and veggies that are easy to eat on the go – mandarins, bananas, apples, pre-peeled oranges, snow peas or cherry tomatoes! Yum!

The good news is, reaching the recommended intake is easier than we think. One serve of vegetables is equivalent to about half a cup of spinach, cauliflower or brussel sprouts, half a medium sweet potato or one cup of lettuce or salad vegetables.

When it comes to dinner, follow the rule for a healthy plate – aim for a quarter of carbohydrate-based foods (brown rice, quinoa or wholegrain pasta), a quarter of lean meat and the final half of the plate filled with vegetables.

One serve of fruit is about eight strawberries, a medium-sized apple, orange, banana or pear, about 20 grapes or cherries or two smaller pieces of fruit like apricots, figs or plums.

If you want to build your strength and boost your energy, small changes and healthy eating is a great way to enhance your heavy lifting power. It will also help you to stay a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer. It’s worth it!

Better still, Queensland has some of the best, freshest, tastiest produce on offer – mangoes, pineapples, paw paw, strawberries, avocados, bananas, lettuce potatoes and watermelon – all delicious!

To get your workplace involved, join Cancer Council’s QUEST at

There are very simple, easy ways to get more fruit and vegetables into your daily diet – it may just require a little forward planning and organisation – but the benefits definitely outweigh the initial pain, and your body will show its love for you in no time! PAGE 11 | LIFTING MATTERS | MARCH 2015

For more information about reducing your cancer risk, call Cancer Council on 13 11 20 or go to |

Profile for Lifting Matters

Lifting Skills News Letter March 2015  

Lifting Skills News Letter March 2015