Bowens - The Builders Choice

WorkSafe has issued two safety alerts in August – the first following an electrician who was electrocuted at a domestic property, the second following an incident where a worker slipped off a roof and fell through the guardrail system on a catch platform at a housing construction site.


Employers and self-employed persons must ensure they are controlling electric shock risks in accordance with the OHS Act and Regulations, including the development of safe work method statements (SWMS) and having consideration to the hierarchy of control.

Potential safety risks

  • working on or near electrical supply that has not been de-energised, isolated and locked out
  • unidentified live permanent wiring
  • working alone where a job requires two (or more) people to undertake the task safely
  • using metal tools close to live electrical wiring

Recommended ways to control risks

  • Develop a safe work method statement (SWMS) for electrical work.
  • Identify and assess the scope of works and assess the work area for electrical cables.
  • De-energise the installation or part of the installationto eliminate the risk of an electrical shock, for example by removing the electricity service fuse.
  • Use appropriate signage once the service fuse is removed, lock out/tag out the main switch(es) or isolation devices.
  • Verify the installation is de-energised- Treat the electrical installation as energised until testing confirms that de-energisation has been achieved.
  • Use a safe system of work- Safe systems of work should be developed and followed along with risk controls


Falls are a leading cause of fatalities within the construction industry. In the past 12 months, 162 fall from height incidents have been reported to WorkSafe.Where there is a risk of falling more than two metres, employers must eliminate that risk so far as is reasonably practicable.

Possible contributing factors

Wet conditions can impact the effectiveness of the control measures in place for working at height.

Possible causes of this type of incident include:

  • the fall control measures (e.g. scaffolding, catch platform) have not been assessed for new or changing site conditions, including changes in weather conditions
  • working on a roof where roofing materials are slippery (e.g. rain, dust or oil on roofing)
  • not reviewing or revising safe work method statements to ensure controls are adequate

Recommended ways to control risks

Catch platform placement when the roof pitch is:

  • 26 degrees or less: As close as feasible to the underside of the roof and not exceeding 1 metre below.
  • Greater than 26 degrees: As close as feasible to the underside of the roof and not exceeding 300mm below.
  • Slippery roofing materials, regardless of pitch: As close as feasible to the underside of the roof and not exceeding 300mm below.

Want to know more?
Visit to read the safety alerts and information on safe construction work practices.
Contact WorkSafe Advisory at 1800 136 089.

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