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Media Release - Construction Falls from Height are Preventable

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MEDIA RELEASE: 16 December 2011

The Department of Labour has launched a three-year harm reduction campaign to raise awareness about working safely at height and reduce the human and financial toll caused by falls from height.

“The Department of Labour’s investigations into construction falls from height show more than 50% of falls are from less than three metres and approximately 70% of falls are from ladders and roofs. The human and financial cost of this is too high,” says Jean Martin, General Manager of the Department’s Southern Division.

The Department’s Preventing Falls from Height project will be focusing on ladder and roof safety throughout the construction sector.  

“Builders, roofers, electrical workers, painters and decorators are the most likely to fall from height and get seriously hurt while they are working. The cost of falls from height in construction has been estimated at $24 million a year,” says Ms Martin.

“Health and safety in the workplace starts when the decision is made to go ahead with a construction job. All aspects of working safely at height should be considered. Doing nothing is not an option,” she says.

“Representatives from the construction sector have been working closely with the Department to develop these best practice guidelines. Everyone has a part to play in preventing falls. The principal, the self-employed contractor and subcontractor, the employer and the worker each has a responsibility to ensure we cut the human and financial cost of these preventable accidents in the workplace,” says Ms Martin. 

Public consultation begins on the draft Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand today and runs until 27 January 2012.

For more information about preventing falls while working at height and about the Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand, go to or call the Department of Labour 0800 20 90 20.


Media contact: 0274 422 141 or email