People visiting waste management facilities have been warned of the potential dangers of falls from heights.
WorkCover NSW said landfills, waste transfer stations and resource recovery centres all pose risks with two fatal accidents occurring in 2014 – both of which involved members of the public.
One incident occurred when an individual fell from a transfer platform when unloading waste from the back of a utility vehicle. The person was attempting to untangle a chain that ran along the platform edge from the vehicle when they fell into the waste bin.
The second accident involved an individual falling from their truck into a compactor pit. There was no edge protection around the side of the pit because it was only supposed to be used by commercial vehicles that mechanically deposit waste.
When people are seriously injured or killed in situations such as this, they or their loved ones could launch a public liability claim if it can be proved the company that owns the waste management facility breached their duty of care.
This could lead to a significant compensation payout, which often provides much-needed financial support for families – particularly if the injured party was the main earner of the household.
Safety actions required
According to WorkCover NSW, there are a number of ways that waste management facilities can prevent falls from heights occurring on-site.
“Where possible, eliminate risk of falls. For example, by providing ground-level disposal. If the risk can’t be eliminated, risks should be minimised,” the organisation said in a March 9 press release.
“Provide all visitors to the facility with safety information, including instructions at facility entry points, about what is required in regard to fall hazards and fall prevention.”
WorkCover also advised the introduction of various control measures, including:
The organisation also urged waste management facility owners to provide adequate supervision and instructions, including guidance at the entry points to the sites.
“Ensure all facility workers are adequately trained in workplace health and safety, particularly fall prevention and traffic management,” WorkCover added.