Managing Falls in the Workplace -6 Steps to Protect Workers

Managing Falls in the workplace


Managing Falls in Workplace safety is a top priority for any responsible employer. One of the most common and potentially dangerous hazards in many workplaces is the risk of falls. Falls can result in serious injuries or even fatalities, making it essential for employers to implement effective measures to manage this risk. SafeWork Australia, the national workplace health and safety regulator, has developed a comprehensive Code of Practice for Managing Falls in the Workplace. In this blog post, we will outline the key requirements of this code and explain how it can help create safer working environments.

What is SafeWork Australia’s Code of Practice? 

SafeWork Australia’s Code of Practice for Managing Falls in the Workplace is a set of guidelines and recommendations designed to assist employers, workers, and other stakeholders in managing the risks associated with falls in various work settings. This code provides practical advice and strategies to prevent falls, reduce their impact, and ensure compliance with legal obligations under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws.

Key Requirements Managing Falls in the Workplace 

Risk Assessment 

The first step in managing falls in the workplace is to conduct a thorough risk assessment. Employers are required to identify potential fall hazards and assess their severity. This assessment should consider factors such as the height of the fall, the work environment, the type of work being performed, and the competency of the workers involved.

Hierarchy of Control Measures 

SafeWork Australia’s code emphasises using a hierarchy of control measures to manage fall risks. This hierarchy includes:

a. Elimination: The preferred option is to eliminate the fall hazard entirely, if possible. For example, using guardrails or safety nets to prevent falls.

b. Substitution: If elimination is not feasible, consider substituting the hazardous task with a safer alternative and, for instance, using elevated work platforms instead of ladders.

c. Engineering Controls: Implement engineering controls like installing safety barriers, safety cages, or platforms to minimise the risk of falls.

d. Administrative Controls: Develop and enforce safe work procedures, provide training and supervision, and use warning signs to alert workers to potential hazards.

e. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): When all other control measures are insufficient, provide workers with appropriate PPE, such as fall arrest systems, harnesses, and helmets.

Training and Competency 

Employers must ensure that workers are adequately trained and competent to perform tasks involving the risk of falls. Training should cover hazard identification, safe work procedures, proper use of equipment, and emergency response.

Safe Work at Heights 

The code specifically addresses work at heights, a common cause of falls. Employers should implement strict procedures for safe work at heights, including appropriate equipment, fall prevention measures, and emergency rescue plans.

 Inspection and Maintenance 

Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment, such as ladders, scaffolding, and safety harnesses, are crucial to ensuring their effectiveness in preventing falls. The code provides guidelines on how to conduct inspections and maintain equipment.

 Record Keeping and Review 

Maintaining accurate records of fall-related incidents, risk assessments, and control measures is essential for compliance with the code. Regular reviews of these records help identify trends and areas for improvement.


SafeWork Australia’s Code of Practice for Managing Falls in the Workplace is a valuable resource for organisations striving to create safer work environments. By following its requirements, employers can systematically assess and mitigate fall risks, thereby protecting the health and well-being of their employees. Preventing falls not only reduces human suffering but also minimises the financial and legal implications associated with workplace accidents. Prioritising workplace safety is a win-win for everyone involved.

Remember that this blog post is a general overview of the key requirements of the code. For a comprehensive understanding and to ensure full compliance with SafeWork Australia’s guidelines, employers should refer to the official code and seek guidance from relevant safety authorities in each state.

Safety doesn’t just occur. Safety requires good leadership. For further guidance on leadership, please read the article The Importance of Leadership Qualities in Small Business Owners: The Strength to Do What is Right.


SafeWork NSW Code of Practice – Managing Falls in the Workplace

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