23 Sep At what height is fall protection required in Australia?
Working at Heights Australian Standards
Requirements for height safety compliance in Australia
In Australia it is important to remember that height safety equipment and working at heights practices are governed by the Working At Height Association (WAHA) who enforce the following Australian Standards & Industry Codes:
- AS1657:2018 Fixed Platforms, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders
- AS/NZS 1891.1 Part 1: Safety Belts and Harnesses
- AS/NZS 1891.2 Part 2: Horizontal Lifeline and Rail Systems
- AS/NZS 1891:3 Part 3: Fall Arrest Devices
- AS/NZS 1981.4 Part 4: Selection, Use and Maintenance of Industrial Fall Arrest Systems and Devices
- AS2625 Safe Working in a Confined Space
- AS/NZS 4488 Industrial Rope Access Systems
- AS/NZS 5532 Manufacturers requirements for single point anchors
The type of fall protection equipment required for your premises to achieve compliance depends on the relevant height safety legislation and what equipment or areas you require safe access to.
Generally speaking, fall protection equipment is required for anyone working at heights of 2 metres or higher. There are different types fall protection systems, and the one that is most appropriate for your premises will depend on the fall hazards that are present and the type of work that is carried out.
If you require safe access to roof-mounted plant and equipment for your premises, you may require only roof walkways to eliminate trip hazards. If personnel need to walk or work within 2 metres of a roof edge or other fall hazard, your premises will require a fall prevention system such as a fall arrest system, roof guardrail or a static line system.
A comprehensive height safety system may require the installation of several different types of height safety equipment.
How height safety is determined
In order to determine what fall protection equipment is required to achieve Australian standard code compliance, a height safety engineer must perform a detailed inspection of the site. They will determine how the relevant regulations apply to the particular site and its use.
One of the factors that determine what type of system should be installed is the hierarchy of control. This is a procedure that outlines the best practice for eliminating workplace hazards. It states that it is always preferable to use the highest order of control, level 1, when addressing a hazard and that a lower order of control should only be used when a higher level is not practicable.
The levels of the hierarchy of control are:
- Eliminate the risk – The highest level of control is to eliminate the risk of a fall by undertaking work on the ground or a solid construction such as a roof walkway with guardrails and a ladder or stairway.
- Passive fall protection – These are safety products that don’t need to be altered after having been installed, including guardrails.
- Work positioning systems – These are typically rope access systems such roof anchors and static lines that require training in order to be used safely.
- Fall injury prevention systems – In the event of a fall, these systems are designed to minimise worker injuries.
- Ladders and administrative controls – Ladders are not as desirable as other systems in certain circumstances and administrative controls or procedures require stringent documentation.
Height safety installation
After a licensed height safety engineer has determined the type of height safety system that must be installed, the details of the installation will be decided. This will depend on factors such as the material and pitch of the roof. Fall protection systems have different installation procedures for tile, metal, and concrete roofs as well as for flat or pitched roofs.
Licensed plumbers are required to perform any roof penetrations during the installation process and must provide the client with a plumbing compliance certificate upon completion of the job.
Expert height safety advice
Australian Height Safety Services have been providing businesses with expert height safety advice and installations for over 15 years. We use only the highest quality Australian products and our expert installation processes guarantee regulatory compliance.