Working at height is one of the leading causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace!
In Australia, falls account for around 11% of deaths in the workplace, with half of these fatalities occurring from heights of three metres or less.
Height safety requirements are determined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act). Under the WHS Act, the employer has the primary responsibility to ensure that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks that could arise from the business or undertaking.
Here is our guide to height safety regulations.
It’s all about managing falls
Under the regulations, the employer is required to identify, assess and eliminate (If Possible) or reduce and manage the risk. You must:
- Whenever it is reasonably possible to do so, carry out the work on the ground or on a solid construction.
- Provide safe means to access and exit a work place.
- Use fall prevention devices, work positioning system or a fall arrest systems to minimise the risks of falls.
Incorporate the different types of falls in your WHS plan
You need to identify all the different types of falls that could occur in your workplace and incorporate them into your WHS plan. If necessary, revise SWMS to ensure fall prevention controls are adequate.
The different types of falls outlined in the legislations are:
- Working in an elevated place
- Working near an opening that someone could fall through
- Working near an edge that someone could fall off
- Working on uneven and unstable surfaces, as well as any other surface from which someone could fall
- Any other workplace-specific places that could cause falls
“Under no circumstances should workers be on top of roofs or working at heights without protection”.
It’s your responsibility to provide safety gear to manage fall risks
You will need to provide adequate height safety equipment if your workers need to work at heights.
Failure to comply carries a hefty fine
There are significant consequences for businesses and business owners who are non-compliant. Fines can start at $250,000 and punishments can include jail terms if non-compliant practices or equipment result in the serious injury or death of a worker.
The consequences of an unsafe workplace can be dire, so you need to understand the regulations and your duties clearly. For more information about workplace height safety, call the electricianXchange or NECA team.