Category Archives: Working At Heights

Working at Heights Training and Rigging

Yet another example of where further working at heights training could have saved a lot of bother and a large fine. Per WA Business News, the owners of a rigging and construction business just received a hefty $32 500 fine for failing to provide systems on a construction site to prevent workers from falling.

In my experience the biggest block to implementing systems ( both those required by law, and common sense systems ) is misunderstanding, lack of data and lack of experience in application. Not knowing how to do something, or a misunderstanding of how to do it can act as a total stop to it being done.  Our working at heights training is intended to remove any confusions and enable application by our students.

Certification of Height Safety Equipment

We were contacted recently by a company who had an accident when an item of access equipment malfunctioned.  It transpired that their height safety equipment, as well as their access equipment had not been maintained or inspected fro some time.

All items of height safety equipment must be inspected prior to each use and their fitness for the intended purpose assessed by a competent person.  They should also be tested periodically dependiong on the manufacturers recommended intervals.  Obviously, the time to find out that your intertia reel is faulty is not when you’re falling from the roof of a building.

Manufacturers and distributors generally offer testing and certification services and can provide advice on certification and testing intervals for the various types of height safety equipment.

Crane safety

There have been few close calls involving cranes and vehicle loading cranes. WorkCover NSW advises that incidents can be prevented by taking all practicable steps to ensure that safe working loads are not exceeded, the crane is on firm footing, loads are slung by a competent person and the crane is not operated at speeds that de-stabilise the load with abrupt stops.

Also, when using a vehicle loading crane, ensure that the load is not travelled over the operator while at the controls.  Change sides and use the other controls. Operators can be caught between the load and the truck.

All of the above safety considerations should be included in a lift plan.  This can be very detailed or reasonably basic so long as it includes consideration of all of the hazards that might be encountered during the lift.  It is better to examine potential obstructions or limitations that may prevent the lift from being completed before the load has been hoisted.

Be safe. For more details of the courses run by HPOTS, go to our page about crane training.

Elevating Work Platforms

Elevating Work Platform (EWP) Training is probably one of the most confusing areas these days.  There are a variety of certification standards that apply to operators of these machines.

For boom type machines where the boom extends beyond 11m a National High Risk Work Licence is required.  For boom type machines below 11m there is the EWP Association ‘Yellow Card’.  There are also units of competency included in several National Training Packages that apply to these machines, such as RIIHAN301A – Operate Elevating Work Platform from the Resources and Infrastructure Training Package.  The Units of competency and Yellow Card programs also cater for scissor lift types machines.

Many sites require these additional certifications even when operators hold the WorkCover licence.  It is important therefore when looking at Elevating Work Platform Training that you understand the specific certification requirements.

Working at Heights Training

My post last week prompted some interesting questions in relation to Working at Heights Training. One, which comes up fairly regularly concerns the certification requirements and the need for regular recertification.

We deliver our Working at Heights program in accordance with the Unit of Competency RIIOHS204A-Work Safely at Heights. This unit is drawn from the National Training Package for the Resource and Infrastructure Industries. Training package units, like qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework do not require refresher training or reassessment.

The National Standard for height work (AS/NZ 1891) however does require reassessment at ‘appropriate’ intervals.

What constitutes and appropriate interval depends on the level of skill required of the operator. Simple tasks in relatively low risk situations will require a different interval for reassessment than high risk situations where non-routine work is being performed. The controller of the site will generally determine what interval should apply. Commonly this is 2 years but in high risk situation the intyerval could be shorter. Bare in mind that working at heights has a mandatory risk control system that needs to be applied so this may need to be refreshed regualrly.

Under the new Work Health and Safety Act to be introduced on 1 January 2012 all officers of a company have a responsibility to undertake adequate due diligence in relation to hazards and risks. This positive responsibility may induce site controllers to consider shorter intervals in future – we will need to see regulations and possibly some appeal cases before the full impact of these responsibilities can be known.

We also have a page about working at heights training.

Working at Heights

Probably the number one source of confusion in regard to height safety revolves around just what is deemed to be working at heights.  There are a number of metric measures bandied about, and they are all wrong.  Whenever it is possible to fall from one level to another the work should be considered working at heights.

Once you classify work in this way, and it is deemed to encompass working at height, a  mandatory hierarchy of control must be applied.

While we generally think about the potential for a person to fall, consideration should also be given to falling objects such as tools and equipment, which pose a risk of injury to others working on a lower level.