Well another month has passed, and monthly reports are due by the 7th and a new focus for this month.
To assist our clients in meeting their various work health and safety (WHS) compliance requirements we have developed a monthly focus.
The main focus of this program is to provide assistance in implementing the WHS systems in accordance with the WHS Act and Various Codes of Practice. (CoP)
There are currently over 24 codes of practice and guidelines that WorkSafe NSW and the Courts will consider whether you as the PCBU have done everything reasonably practicable to protect your staff.
We have segmented the CoP to be the focus of your monthly WHS program.
This Month’s Focus – Falls and Working at Heights
This month’s focus is on Falls and Working at heights. It is important to read and understand the following:
- Risks Associated with Falls and Working at Heights
- When workers are exposed to a fall risk
- Consequences of falls from heights
- Managing Risks
Consequences of Falls from Heights
If no control measured are in place to prevent a fall from heights and an individual is involved in a fall it can result in:
- Head Injuries
- Fractures and contusions
- Permanent serious injury, e.g. paralysis
According to Safe Work Australia between 2003 and 2015, 359 workers were killed following a fall from heights incident with over 50% of these resulting in a fall from less then 3m.
- 28% of fatalities in Australia were caused by a fall from a height in 2015.
- 30% of serious claims for falls from a height were caused by ladders read more in the Construction industry profile
- 48% of fatalities in the construction industry were from falls from a height of less than 4 metres.
The greatest number of fatalities involved falling from roofs (59), ladders (54), vehicles (27) and horses (33).
Workers aged 45 years and over made up 65% of those who died.
The construction industry accounted for 37% of falls-related fatalities.
What does this mean? The construction industry is not the only place workers get hurt.
Working at Heights Procedures
Check if your organisation has a policy that states that no member of staff will work at height above the use of ladder or internal access systems.
If work is required above this height, then a specialist contractor and equipment will be engaged to undertake this work after a risk assessment is conducted.
Risks Associated with Falls and Working at Heights
When Working at Heights there are two major risks associated.
- Falling risk for workers Working at Heights.
- A risk that a person or object may fall and hit an individual working below.
It is important for an organisation to take consideration when dealing with heights work keeping these major risks in mind.
When are workers exposed to a Fall Risk?
Fall risks are not always a result of working at extremes of height on ladders and scaffolds etc.
Risk of falls can occur from minor works including.
- Climbing on top of trucks or loads.
- Working near trenches or pits.
- Working from an unprotected roof edge.
- Climbing on top of plant or machinery.
It is important not to overlook the risks ladders can present when being used. Ladders can be a major cause of injuries throughout the workplace.
Before using a ladder ensure it is appropriate to do so. Ensure the ladder is suitable for the application.
3 Points of contact
To use a ladder safely ensure there are always 3 points of contact, meaning two feet one hand or two hands and one foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
Exceptions only for dismounting the ladder either onto the ground or onto a stable surface.
The ladder requires frequent inspections to ensure safe use. It is important to inspect:
- Missing or loose steps
- Loose or faulty spreaders
- Condition of rope
- Safety feet are solid
- Rubber grips are in good condition
If any of the above are faulty do not use the ladder until it is repaired.
Operators are also required to inspect their equipment before and after each use.
All equipment is required to be inspected by a height and safety inspector as per AS/NZS 1891.4: 2009 every six months or as per company procedures.
Before use ensure you inspect the harness yourself for any irregularities with any of the following:
- Rope grabs
- Pole straps
If any of the above are found to have faults do not use until repairs or replacement of the equipment has been completed.
A Harness and Equipment Inspection Checklist has been provided below by Newcastle Rescue and Consultancy Pty Ltd. If you require more information or need an inspection done on your harnesses, please contact Newcastle Rescue on 1300 356 686 or www.newcastlerescue.com.au.
The most effective way of minimizing the risk of falls is to eliminate the need to work at heights. Where possible if alternate ways of completing the tasks are available work can be conducted without the risk.
Alternatively, fall prevention devices need to be implemented into work being conducted at heights. These devices need to be such that workers don’t need to adjust or move them once they are in place. Examples include
- Guard rails or barriers
- Fixed or temporary work platforms
- Travel restraint devices
- Fall protection covers
- Elevated work platforms
- Fall Restraint Systems
- Fall arrest systems
- Edge protection
Working at Heights Checklist
Before work at heights can be conducted a working at heights checklist must be filled out accordingly.
A copy of this checklist can be found in CIRT under documents Safe Operating Procedures “Working at Heights SOP_0016
Filling out this checklist will ensure all the plant and equipment used when working at heights is up to date and fully operational.
If equipment is suspected to be broken or malfunctioning DO NOT proceed with work, report to a manager, and seek alternate arrangements.
Safe Work Method Statement
A PCBU has an obligation to provide workers with the relevant SWMS before work can commence. This will ensure the workers know exactly how to conduct work at heights.
As defined in WHS Regulation 291 Safe Work Method Statements are required for work involving a risk of a person falling more than 2 meters. Examples include:
- Installing an evaporative cooler on the roof of a house.
- Installing roof trusses.
- Installing roof tiles or roof sheeting.
- Working adjacent to a pit or opening with a fall height of more than 2 meters.
Work carried out in or near a shaft or trench with an excavated depth greater than 1.5 meters or is carried out in or near a tunnel.
- laying or repairing pipes or conduits in a trench more than 1.5 meters deep.
- Testing drainage pipes in a trench more than 1.5 meters deep.
- Working near bored piers greater than 1.5 m deep.
- Building a tunnel in the course of constructing an underground railway or road.
If you require or are unsure whether you need a SWMS for Working at Heights, please contact CHD Partners for further information.
All incidents regardless of injury or near misses must be reported. Just because someone is not injured doesn’t mean the incident shouldn’t be recorded.
It is important to gather the information and the cause of accident. It is also a responsibility of management to investigate all incidents to identify the cause and how to prevent similar incidents occur further.
Reporting is completed by filling out the form on CIRT. Click on My Documents and under forms, click on the Incident Reporting form.
Safe Storage on Shelves
Follow these practices when storing materials on shelves.
- Store heavy containers no lower than the second shelf from the floor to minimize the risk of back injuries.
- Small, light and infrequently used items are stored on upper shelves.
- Use a stool or step ladder to place or retrieve materials from upper shelves. Do not use a chair, table, etc. as a step.
- Do not use the bottom shelf as a step.
- Do not stack items on top of each other on top shelves.
Racking Design and Layout
Any racking used in the workplace should be designed specifically for the size, shape and weight of the products being stored. It is also important that all racking is set up and maintained according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
The layout of racking should be compatible with the material handling equipment used in the workplace – eg aisle width should match the turning circle of the forklift used for picking and replenishment.
The layout should also consider emergency access, adequate lighting and any manual handling activities.
This month we could like to congratulate Kelly Trotter Motor Group for completing their Fire Warden training.
This Month’s Tasks
This month is simply two documents:
All staff need to do is complete the following steps just like doing the induction.
Login into CIRT at www.cirt.net.au
Click on Action Safety Tasks Heading
Click on the relevant document under the heading.
Consultation and Toolbox Talk
Supervisors are tasked with completing the following toolbox which is in consultation and toolboxes and in your Action: Managers Tasks
Each month we would like to encourage our customers to give us feedback on our service or CIRT.
We have now added a customer survey on bottom of the My Documents home front page. Feel free to comment.
Understanding Policy and Procedures
It is a requirement of the work health and safety act for all workers to comply with any reasonable instructions, policies and procedure given by their employer of the workplace. To do this they must first be aware of what they are.
All workers have access to policy and procedures under the My Documents section in CIRT (see CIRT overview in the induction section provides guidance on this).
To make accessing documents easier we have created two sections directly under the home tab on the top right-hand column.
Managers have a tab called Action: Managers Tasks
Workers have a tab called Action: Safety Tasks
Managers are already aware the monthly reports page is located under this tab. You will now have access to this month’s safety tasks which will change each month.
All managers and workers need to do is click on the documents under this tab as outlined in This Month’s Tasks, read and then acknowledge they have read it.
Managers may see additional documents from time to time such as specific toolbox talks that will be developed for a particular month or other guidance material.
Adding a New User
To add a new user simply go to your Action Managers Tab and select Access Online Request Form and complete the details.
All staff can access the same form under the Frequently Used Forms section on the My Documents page or under the Forms Tab on the right-hand side of the page (look under My Documents- Forms-Access Online Request Form).