Stricter height guidelines save lives

Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014
Theatre Royal
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

SAFETY FIRST: Roofers at work on Christchurch's Isaac Theatre Royal.

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Tighter guidelines for people working at heights are preventing about 90 deaths or severe injuries in the construction industry each year, new research shows.

A study commissioned by industry body Scaffolding, Access and Rigging New Zealand has found that stricter guidelines introduced in 2011 have cut the number of accidents in the residential building sector by 3.7 per cent. The construction sector logs an average of 24,000 injuries with ACC every year.

BRANZ, which carried out the study, said the new guidelines would prevent about 22 deaths or permanent disabilities a year, plus 68 serious injuries and more than 500 less serious injuries, from people falling off ladders and roofs.

But Construction Safety Council interim chairman Jeremy Sole said the injury numbers were the tip of the iceberg. "There are likely to have been many more falls from height that have not been reported and therefore not subject to an investigation."

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