Safety alert 21/2009 - Edge protection fails

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

A construction worker fell approximately three metres off a balcony at a construction site, sustaining a fractured wrist.  Two steel props had been installed to act as edge protection to the balcony open edge. The props were not installed safely and gave way when the construction worker made contact with them.

Contributing factors 

Use of adjustable steel props for edge protection that were not positively fixed to prevent displacement.


  • Adjustable steel props are primarily designed for vertical loads; ideally they should not be used for edge protection unless they are positively fixed at both ends to the building structure.
  • Ensure edge protection complies with Regulation 3.55.
  • Consideration should be given to the risks while carrying out works near potential fall areas.
  • Ensure the appropriate edge protection and fall prevention measures are in place.

Further information

•    Code of practice - Prevention of falls at workplaces 2004.
•    Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 - Regulation 3.55.

Further information can be obtained from WorkSafe’s website or by contacting customer service on 1300 307 877 or email

This Alert contains safety information following inquires made by WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident.  WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report or as to its use.

Last updated 29 Jun 2017

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