28 Jul The Australian regulations for height safety compliance
Make sure your workplace meets the Australian regulations.
Height safety compliance is not something you should take lightly. If you or your personnel need to work at heights as part of your regular duties, you need to ensure that your premises are safe and compliant.
The consequences of an unsafe workplace can be dire, so you need to understand the regulations and your duties.
Here is our guide to height safety regulations.
What are the regulations?
Height safety requirements in Australian workplaces are determined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act).
Under the WHS Act, a person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary responsibility to ensure that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks that could arise from the business or undertaking.
In relation to fall risks, the WHS Act requires you to ensure the following:
- Work is carried out on the ground or a solid construction, as much as reasonably practical.
- Safe means of access to exit from the workplace are provided.
- Use fall prevention devices, work positions systems or fall arrest systems to minimise the risk of falls.
If you are an officer, such as a company director or OHS officer, then you have a duty of care and must exercise due diligence in ensuring that your workplace is compliant with the WHS Act.
You can find detailed height safety information in the Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplace Code of Practice produced by Safe Work Australia. The Code of Practice is approved under Section 274 of the WHS Act.
The code of practice provides practical information to employers and OHS officers about height safety regulations and the specific equipment and procedures that you need to achieve height safety compliance.
How do you know if your workplace is compliant?
If any personnel or contractors need to work at a height of over 2m or within 2m of a fall edge, then you will need height safety and fall prevention equipment.
The design and installation of height safety equipment must be carried out by a qualified height safety professional.
They will determine what is required for your workplace to achieve height safety compliance, including the type of height safety equipment and how it needs to be installed.
Depending on the needs of your premises and the type of work being carried out, you may require one or more different types of height safety equipment, including:
It is common for Australian businesses to have non-compliant premises, so if you are not sure whether or not your current height safety equipment and procedures are sufficient to achieve compliance, then you need to have your premises inspected by a height safety professional.
A height safety inspector will be able to provide you with a compliance certificate if your current equipment is sufficient, or a recommendation for what you need to have installed. You can also seek guidance from WorkSafe or WorkCover.
If it is determined by an expert that your premises are not height safety compliant, then the area is deemed inaccessible, and work must stop until the appropriate equipment is installed. Work cannot recommence until this is completed.
If your premises is not height safety compliant, work must stop until the appropriate equipment is installed.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
There are significant consequences for businesses and business owners whose premises 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.
WorkSafe regularly performs inspections of workplaces across Australia. If your premises are not compliant with Australian regulations, then you are risking the safety of your workers as well as the consequences that come with non-compliance.
Get expert height safety advice
When dealing with an issue as serious as height safety compliance, it is essential that all inspections and installations are carried out by licensed professional and that they use high-quality products and equipment.
Unlicensed installers will not be able to provide a compliant height safety system while inexperienced installers may not install the products to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Australian Height Safety Services are experts in workplace safety regulations. We can inspect your premises and provide height safety certification as well as recommend and install the necessary equipment to ensure compliance.