The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Model Regulations for Work at Height

Graham Marshall - Saturday, October 20, 2012

Under new legislation to be introduced in Australia under the National Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) framework, a new prioritized process of risk management control shall be required from any person conducting a business or undertaking ("the duty holder"), when it is identified that there is a fall potential amongst workers undertaking an activity.

At the outset, the duty holder needs to determine if the work activity can be conducted at ground level or on a solid construction.  A solid construction means an area that has a structurally supportive surface with barriers at the edges and around any openings.  It must also have an even and readily-negotiable surface and gradient, as well as a safe means of entry and egress.

If it is not reasonably practicable to complete the work on the ground or from a solid construction, the duty holder must minimize the risk of falling by providing and maintaining a safe system of work that includes a fall protection device.

Depending on individual circumstances, a safe system of work may include the use of a temporary work platform, training, safe work procedures, safe sequencing of work, safe use of ladders, a permit system, signage, barriers or barricades, JHA and the use of a fall arrest system.

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