National OHS Alert - Working Alone

Published: 29 May 2018

Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety Unit



The last couple of years has seen an increasing trend for workers in our industry to work alone.

Recent fatalities that have occurred in our industry over the past few years have highlighted that working alone means workers involved in a serious incident are at a greater risk of not receiving immediate attention - medical or otherwise – that might save their lives.

This has now occurred in a number of preventable workplace fatalities in our industry right around the country, leaving families,

friends and workmates devastated and looking for an explanation.

In 2014, a 54 y.o. builders labourer was working alone in an EWP at the Royal Adelaide hospital. He suffered fatal crush injuries.

In 2016, a 54 year old boilermaker, was working alone in an EWP on the Melbourne Convention Centre expansion. He suffered fatal crush injuries.

In February 2017, a 69 year old painter was working alone when he fell 3-4 meters on a Vcon/Element Five site in Balnarring (near Dromana). He died in hospital two days later.

In 2017 in Sydney, a rigger working alone on top of a material hoist suffered fatal head injuries.

Again in 2017, a 56 year old worker at the Impex Gas Plant in Darwin, whilst reportedly working alone installing insulation in a large tank, fell and died.

What is the common link in all of the above fatalities? Other than the tragic impact these fatalities have on the families, friends and work colleagues, all the victims were working alone when the incidents occurred.

If we can take anything from these tragedies, it is that there should always be someone working with you, to immediately assist if something goes wrong.

Never work alone.

If any employer says you are able to work alone, say no. It is simply not a safe system of work.

Every worker has the right to a safe workplace and the right to go home at the end of the day.

If you’re not sure: Stand Up, Speak Out, Come Home.

Contact the CFMEU Health and Safety Unit if you have any concerns: 02 8524 5800

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