Working At Heights

RIIWHS204E Working At Heights

The QLD Workplace Health & Safety Regulations is very clear on the obligations of employers with regard to height safety.  All employers must first and foremost try to eliminate or minimise the risk of an employee falling at the workplace.  When selecting a control measure for the hazard of working at heights, it is imperative that the highest order, most effective option is selected, such as edge protection, restraint systems, or covers over openings.  These types of controls prevent a person from reaching a position where they may fall or remove the fall potential all together.  This type of controls must be considered / used before Fall-Arrest type equipment or systems.

Fall Prevention: The Simpler, Safer Approach

For too long, fall arrest has been the go-to solution for working at heights. But consider this: relying solely on fall arrest is akin to saying, “We can’t prevent your fall, but we’ll catch you if you do.” This approach disregards the potential for mid-fall collisions and suspension trauma (harness hang syndrome).

The good news? Most Australian companies have the resources to prevent falls in the first place. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the available options.

Why Fall Prevention Wins Every Time:

  • Reduced Rescue Reliance: Fall prevention eliminates the need for complex rescue procedures, saving time and money.
  • Minimized Injury Risk: Preventing falls altogether minimizes the risk of injuries from falls themselves and potential secondary injuries from fall arrest equipment.
  • Proactive Safety Culture: Prioritizing fall prevention fosters a proactive safety culture within your organization, demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being.

Invest in Fall Prevention, Not Rescue:

Why spend extra money and time on rescue/recovery systems when you can prevent the fall altogether? No fall potential means no need for rescue. This philosophy of prioritizing prevention over fall arrest is gaining traction across Australia.

Effective fall prevention strategies include:

  • Ensuring effective edge protection
  • Utilizing Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs)
  • Implementing fall prevention (restraint) systems and techniques when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is necessary

Focus on Prevention, Not Just Response:

Think about the resources dedicated to training emergency response personnel for fall rescues. Months of intense training are required for rope access and rescue techniques. Many industrial sites have dedicated teams for such emergencies.

Here’s a simpler solution: train everyone who uses fall arrest equipment in proper restraint techniques. This significantly reduces the risk of falls and minimizes the need for rescue altogether. The training time required for restraint techniques is comparable to fall arrest harness training.

It really is that simple.  Let the team at OSCA help you switch from being REACTIVE to being PROACTIVE and PREVENT THE FALL in the first place.

Enquire about our combined RIIWHS204E Work safely at heights and RIIWHS202D Enter and work in confined spaces and we can arrange suitable time and location.


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