Scaffolding falls on the rise in Victoria 

Arnold Thomas & Becker welcomes WorkSafe Victoria’s recently launched statewide blitz to tackle fall risks on building sites.

The initiative was launched after nine Victorian workers died in 2023 as a result of falls from height, including four in the construction industry.

“Falls from height are a leading cause of injury in the construction industry. We welcome WorkSafe’s recent statewide blitz to tackle unsafe scaffolding and structures on worksites across Victoria,” said Arnold Thomas Becker lawyer Joseph Ridley.

Joseph’s client, who wishes to remain anonymous, suffered a preventable scaffolding fall in 2017 and has not been able to return to work since. While he was climbing the scaffolding, part of it gave way as it was not secured properly and he fell onto his back from a height of over two storeys.

“I want to see some change happening,” our client said. “I hear stories on the news about other workers like me who have hurt themselves falling from scaffolding. Safety is the main thing employers should be focusing on, and it’s not happening the way it should. I want to stop more people from hurting themselves at work as a result of scaffolding falls.”

Joseph emphasised how important it is to share his client’s story to help create change.

“Employers should ensure there is a high level of safety protection for their workers and understand that serious legal action can be taken for non-compliance, both civilly and criminally,” he said.

“Sending this safety message to the construction industry is incredibly important. Luke’s fall has resulted in life changing injuries and could have easily been prevented if his employer had ensured the scaffolding was secured correctly.”

Arnold Thomas & Becker lawyer Travis Fewster’s client Nicholas Hopkins also had a life-changing accident after he fell from improperly secured scaffolding after a rail was removed by the builders.

He landed on his head and now lives in constant pain, cannot return to work and deals with daily psychological trauma.

“Through pursuing legal action, I am hoping to restore some of the losses that I have suffered due to not being able to work because of my injury,” Nicholas said.

“I am sharing my story because I want to raise better awareness about poor scaffolding practices, and lack of supervision of building sites. In my experience safety on building sites is poor.”

Shockingly, construction continues to be the highest-risk industry for falls from heights, making up a third of the 1352 total falls from height claims accepted Australia-wide last year.

“Nick’s accident was completely preventable, caused by negligence on behalf of his employer who had a duty of care to ensure the scaffolding was secure, and that no one could remove rails on the structure,” Travis said.

“The fact that these types of accidents are still occurring should be a wake-up call to employers in the industry to ensure they are keeping their workers safe with secure scaffolding that complies to safety standards.”

“No amount of compensation can take away the pain and trauma that this injury has caused for Nick, but we hope we can provide closure for him and raise awareness about the importance of proper safety and supervision on construction sites.”

For more information about how to claim and the compensation process, visit our Workers Compensation page.

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If you have been injured at work, we’re here to help with your compensation entitlements, and if you don’t win, there’s no fee. To speak to a lawyer for a confidential, no-obligation discussion, call us on 1300 333 300 or email [email protected]

Nicholas Hopkin’s story was also published by The Herald Sun