If you are running a commercial establishment anywhere in Australia, make sure it meets the applicable height safety standards and other regulations in the country. This becomes more relevant when your employees have to work at heights as part of their daily work activities. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all your employees, especially those working at height.
Any carelessness or wavering attitude can invite legal troubles. Your workplace cannot be unsafe for workers. Employees should not be exposed to health and safety risks when at work. Here the role of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 becomes important. Your office and work environment needs to comply with the WHS Act, 2011, failing which you may invite legal troubles for yourself and your firm.
What does the WHS Act, 2011 specify?
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011, also known as the WHS Act, strongly advocates for the safety of employees and workers in workplaces. Therefore, all workplaces, offices and factories must ensure that their premises meet the height safety requirements as per the rules and guidelines specified under the WHS Act.
The WHS Act clearly specifies that it is a legal obligation of a manager, firm owner, or entrepreneur to ensure that its employees are working in a safe and conducive working environment, regardless of any hazards that may arise in their day to day work. Not exposing yourself to health and safety risks. For day working or work profile.
WHS Guidelines: a perspective
It is a very disturbing fact that many workers have been injured and died while working at height. Unfortunately, working at height remains the number one cause of death and injury to workers in Australia. At least 122 workers lost their lives due to accidental slips and falls during 2015-2019.
The WHS Act now requires you to ensure the safety and well-being of workers by:
- There should be concrete construction work on the land.
- All workplaces should have access to emergency exits.
- Employers are required to use the latest fall prevention gadgets to reduce the risk of accidental falls.
- The company must have an officer or OHS manager to ensure that the workplace complies with the guidelines specified under the WHS Act.
- Necessary safety guidelines should be followed as per the information mentioned in the workplace code of conduct (Section 274, WHS Act).
The code of practice provides practical insight into matters relating to height safety regulations. It also informs you about the latest safety equipment and measures that you need to know in order to achieve height safety compliance as per the law.
Make your workplace compliant with safety norms
- The need to use safety equipment when workers are working at heights greater than 2 metres.
- As soon as workers start working at a height greater than 2 m or on a falling edge of 2 m, height safety and fall prevention equipment and devices must be used.
- All required safety equipment must be installed after a thorough inspection by a qualified safety professional or WSH official.
- Only the safety authority will specify what type of safety equipment and equipment your employees should use when working at height.
- The officer will also provide further tips to help you meet height safety compliance in your workplace.
penalty for non-compliance
Don’t do it As stated earlier, if your workplace is not WSH Act compliant, you may invite legal troubles. Non-compliant premises and workplaces can be fined or fined up to $250,000 or more, as well as imprisonment for the relevant officials or business owner.
The situation can become even more chaotic if a worker working at height suffers a serious injury and dies in hospital a few days later.
Height Safety Standards and Required Equipment
The WAHA, or Working at Height Association, specifies the following Australian Standards and Industry Codes for workers working at height and for companies engaged in such services:
possession of relevant equipment: As per section AS1657:2018, firms are required to provide necessary safety equipment for their employees, including ladders, ladders and walkways.
Safety belt: In accordance with Part 1 of AS/NZS 1891.1, all height workers working at height must wear a safety belt.
Rail System: In accordance with Part 2 of AS/NZS 1891.2, adequate provision must be made to establish horizontal lifelines and rail systems before workers begin their work at height.
Use of Fall Arrest Devices: Part 3 of AS/NZS 1891:3 mentions the requirement to use a fall arrest device. These devices must remain attached to the worker as long as they are in operation.
Currently, there are three types of fall arrest equipment used by workers at height. Type 1 fall arrest devices run in the direction of the line of work like rails or ropes.
Type 2 fall gadgets include spring-loaded anchorages and seatbelts. Whenever the worker is about to lose balance, the locks activate, preventing a fall.
Type 3 fall-arrest devices protect workers from accidental slipping or loss of balance. This includes inertia reels, rescue lifting devices, and others. It is more often used in confined spaces and is helpful during the exit process after work is completed.
Equipment use and maintenance: Part 4 of AS/NZS 1981.4 clearly instructs how the safety officer should select the necessary safety equipment, use it, install it, and maintain the entire industrial fall control system throughout the year.
Some other essential safety guidelines that firms need to follow are rules relating to limited workspace, how to activate industrial rope access systems, and which single-point anchor firms to purchase. You can also use equipment like railings, walkways and ladders as per the requirement of the employees.
One may be unable to prevent industrial hazards and accidental falls while working at height. But using advanced safety equipment and guidelines can help you reduce your risk of serious injury. The primary responsibility of a business owner is to install the necessary safety equipment in the office and arrange necessary training sessions for employees to become familiar with them.
The use of ladders, railings and fall arrest devices have been very successful in preventing accidents and injuries among workers. Hence, the time has come to make your premises and workplaces security compliant. Contact a security professional and expert to learn more.