SafeWork NSW issues strong wind warning after employee death

Date: Aug 24, 2017

Businesses have been urged to consider the safety of employees who are exposed to strong winds in the workplace.

SafeWork NSW issued a warning after one person died and another was seriously injured in separate incidents involving extreme gusts of wind earlier this month.

A man was killed in Talinda Street, Carlingford, when a wall collapsed at a building site, while another worker was seriously injured in a similar accident on Thomas Boulton Crescent in Kellyville on the same day.

Safeguarding employees from hazardous winds

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy said organisations must be wary of asking employees to work in strong winds due to the risk of injury.

"High gusts of wind are unpredictable and cause a range of serious workplace hazards associated with flying objects and an increased risk of structural collapse," he explained.

"Wind speeds are often stronger at heights, so operating cranes or using platforms requires additional caution."

Safe Work Australia (SWA) highlights wind conditions as one of the leading causes of stability issues when operating cranes.

The organisation advises that employers check the manufacturer's instructions for the maximum possible wind speed for cranes, adding that work should stop when this limit is reached.

What can employers do to protect workers?

Construction is one of the country's most hazardous industries, with 33 employees dying on the job in 2015, according to SWA data. This represented 17 per cent of all worker fatalities that year.

SafeWork NSW provided several recommendations for businesses hoping to protect staff working in strong winds:

  • Provide eye protection against dust and other materials;
  • Ensure freestanding masonry walls are braced and stable;
  • Implement an exclusion zone for walls when extreme weather hits;
  • Fasten down objects that could become airborne in windy conditions; and
  • Enforce sufficient fall prevention measures for workers at height.

"It's essential businesses conduct a site-specific risk assessment and site controllers talk with workers to ensure adequate planning and preparation is in place so that all hazards are managed," Mr Dunphy stated.

Workers' compensation claims in NSW

Employees who are injured in the workplace are entitled to workers' compensation in NSW while they recover.

However, not all insurers approve workers' compensation claims, leaving some people struggling financially and unable to pay important medical bills and day-to-day living expenses.

If you've been injured in a workplace accident and would like legal advice on what steps to take next, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

Our no-win, no-fee structure ensures you can pursue your claim without worrying about paying the upfront costs. Click here to learn more.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.