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Managing the Risks of Working at Heights


By Amanda Pennycook, Usher Group Safety Manager

If you ever need a reality check about the importance of safety on construction sites, you can do worse than head to the Safe Work Australia website and type in the words ‘working at heights’ and ‘statistics’.

For it is there that you will find a few numbers that are as startling as they are heartbreaking.

More than 350 workers were killed from 2003-15 following a fall from a height. This represented 11 per cent of all Australian workers killed during the period and half of those deaths were from falls of three metres or less.

As for the construction industry? Almost 40 per cent of falls-related fatalities were in the sector in which I am a Safety Manager for a company that employs hundreds of people who spend their days working at heights.

As part of Usher Group’s year-long safety campaign ‘Usher Safety First 2019’, we have turned our attention in March to educating our own staff and the wider construction and trades industries about ways to avoid adding to those statistics.


Our safety staff are visiting sites to not only discuss the issue with workers but reinforce the key rules to follow when toiling at heights, be it putting falls preventions in place such as edge protections or fall arrest controls like catch platforms to stop a person’s fall.

Even at heights below two metres, it is essential to not only identify hazards that may cause death or injury if a person were to fall but assess the risk they may pose.

It may be a cliché but we do consider ourselves a family at Usher Group and that’s why we are so committed to ensuring our staff return safely to their own loved ones each day.

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