WORKING AT HEIGHTS – POINTS TO PONDER
Whilst training on worksites we are often told stories and case studies relating to accidents and near misses caused by equipment, or usually a lack of equipment that although available on site and should be in place or even used to “be on the safe side”. Whether it be a “5 minute job” that has been undertaken on many occasions without complications or accidents occurring, workers sometimes do get a little “complacent”, and unfortunately get in the habit of not utilizing safety equipment as sometimes it takes longer to set up, or put on, than the “5 minute job”.
Unfortunately, these stories and case studies are quite common when items of equipment are not used although available on site, and often result in an employer or individual having to justify themselves to a coroner on the course of action they took which resulted in a workplace accident or worst-case scenario a death.
In a majority of workplaces, Risk Assessments, Safe Work Method Statements, Job Safety Environment Analysis, Job Hazard Analysis, and Safe Operating Procedures are very common, and are put in place by Management and workers, to highlight worksite Hazards and Risks which require control measures to be implemented to make the job safer for all involved.
Lately there has been a few incidents involving workers on scaffolding, which has resulted in a workplace incident occurring. Workers who erect scaffolding are guided by AS/NZS 4576:1995, and use certain components such as Guardrails, Handrails, which are “Fall Protection” measures, but also often use other control measures which can be as simple as setting up a “Fall Prevention“ system such as a “Lanyard” which would be attached to a suitable anchor which ideally would be above and adequate for the load it is being subjected to, then attaching the lanyard to the workers Harness to keep them in “Fall Restraint” preventing them from falling over an edge.
It is all well and good to use a “Passive System” such as scaffolding which is a device that is designed to prevent a fall and does not require any ongoing adjustment by a person, other than to the means by which it is designed to prevent a fall. However, medical episodes are becoming more apparent, and that is why a good common practice now is to use an extra “Fall Prevention” system such as a Lanyard with scaffold hooks to keep the worker safe in a “Fall Restraint” position.
Although the WHS Act contains key provisions which have a direct bearing on the obligations of Employers and Management, workers must always adhere to their responsibilities such as using “Safe Working Practices”, otherwise accidents can occur, and workers will be held accountable for their actions, especially where safety of persons have been overlooked.
We must remember that gone are the days where “she’ll be right” is acceptable practice.
- Tags: Height Safety