Image of formwork and poured concrete

Falling from a height is the number one cause of death and permanent disability in the formwork industry.

More than 6000 people work in the concrete construction services industry and formworkers (and other structural trade workers) are twice as likely as others to have an injury resulting in more than six months off work.

Falls most commonly occur because of unprotected edges or inadequately covered penetrations.

Here are some quick tips to help you prevent incidents happening:

  • Work from below the formwork deck, using temporary work platforms – and don't stand on joists.
  • Limit the number of leading edges; install guardrails and edge protection.
  • Use scaffolds, screens and catch platforms.
  • Install guardrails into pre-assembled systems before they are lifted into position.
  • Sign post and securely cover penetrations.
  • Ensure guardrails on decks and penetration covers comply with Australian standards.
  • Plan how to lift and handle heavy and awkward objects.
  • Make sure there is protection against falling objects.

Safe work method statements

Ensure site-specific safe work method statements (SWMS) are in place for all high-risk construction work – use this template and sample.

Safety videos

These videos show safe ways to erect and dismantle formwork to prevent falls and other injuries.

Industry action plan

See our industry action plan to find out what you can do to make your construction site safer.

Formwork Industry Safety Network

The Formwork Industry Safety Network is open to all formworkers and is a meeting where safety concerns, innovative solutions and experience can be shared.

The aim of network is to:

  • encourage communication across the industry to address work health and safety (WHS), return to work (RTW) and injury management (IM)
  • share and promote best practice innovations and productive solutions to WHS and RTW issues
  • facilitate an effective and meaningful process of engagement
  • improve the focus on WHS management in the industry
  • enhance the industry’s capability to develop and self-direct initiatives around WHS and RTW/IM.

To register your interest and to be notified of future meetings, complete our online form.

More information

This guide will help you support your worker when they are injured.

You must also have a return to work program to help injured workers recover and get back to work.

The guide for formwork and falsework provides detailed information about formwork, falsework, and slip, jump and travelling forms.

For practical information about working on the ground or from a solid construction, fall prevention devices, work positioning systems, fall arrest systems, ladders, administrative controls and emergency procedures, see the code of practice for managing the risk of falls at workplaces.

We can provide more help with our safety rebates, mentor programs, online webinars and workshops.