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WAHA - News Blog

E-NEWS - Harness and PPE Inspection Refresher

A number of WAHA members have reported concerns relating to the inspection of working at height personal protective equipment (PPE). The most commonly reported issue relates to the inspection tagging of fall arrest rated harnesses - specifically, the fixing of inspection tags to the harness fall arrest hardware. The most commonly reported error is the fixing of inspection tags to the harness side D-rings, with the most serious concern being fixing the tags to the rear fall arrest D-ring.

The interference created by those tags at the rear D-ring / lanyard connection - or pole strap connection on side D-rings - can create the possibility of inadvertent incorrect or inadequate connection that could easily fail in the event of a fall.

AS/NZS1891.4 (Appendix E3) clearly defines the competency required for a height safety equipment inspector as “training in the skills needed to detect faults in equipment and to determine remedial action”. The specific details of that training are also clearly defined in the core training elements and performance criteria listed in Table E1 of the Standard. Appendix E4 goes on to state that inspectors should “be re-assessed at appropriate intervals to confirm ongoing competency”. Clearly more attention needs to be given to both correct training and sufficient, regular reassessment of the competency of equipment inspectors.

The Working at Height Association and its Training Category members of are continuing to work with the various training regulators to ensure that the competencies of training providers (and their staff), offering working at height and related training, are vetted for competency and that the increasing trend to “tick and flick” certification - and recertification - is eliminated.

The use of training companies that are members of WAHA should ensure the correct standard of training and help eliminate the current PPE inspection problems in the field.


The Working at Height Association has held a number of discussions with Safety Institute of Australia about participation in their new venture - the inaugural #SAFETYSCAPE Convention. The #SAFETYSCAPE Convention is a week long programme of events, workshops, forums, seminars and conferences to form Australia’s largest safety event. The event will present a two day exhibition called The Workplace Health & Safety Show on 23 / 24 May 2018 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Convention adopts a new approach with an emphasis on high quality events for Health and Safety professionals.

As a result of those discussions the WAHA will be arranging a series of its own Member and Category Meetings to coincide with #SAFETYSCAPE - allowing WAHA members an additional opportunity to invite guests and potential new members to those meetings. WAHA members will be given the opportunity to participate in the Convention Dinner, allowing members to mix with Safety Professionals from around the country.

The Association has also offered to host a workshop on the second day of the conference. The current thinking is that this workshop will be used to formally launch the Association developed Industry Code designed to increase the quality of installation standards.

This launch of an Industry Code fits well with the actual conference theme - turning safety theory (manufacturer standards) into practical results (what is really happening out there). It will also provide some comfort to the public that - despite the lack of regulator intervention - the industry is pushing forward with a model of self-regulation to improve industry standards for installations of height safety systems as well as other working at height and confined space training and management issues.


After a number of meetings of the combined Training and Confined Space Category members - some final adjustments where made to the course content required for WAHA endorsement of the Basic Confined Space Entry training module. The revised document was issued via the WAHA website in mid July.

The document now contains the minimum content of both theoretical training and practical exercise training as well as the more contentious issues of maximum student / instructor ratios and minimum course delivery time.

The template also defines the required frequency for refresher training as 12 months. The refresher training course should have a minimum duration of 8 hours - with the additional caveat that a person that has not worked in a confined space in the last 12 months should not be allowed access again until refresher training has been successfully undertaken and a new certificate of competency issued.

This completes the initial phase of the “Basic” training course guidelines, and members are now considering the extension of course guidelines to cover specialist working at height (e.g. tower climbing, working over water, rescue, etc) and confined space (e.g. Silo’s). When a priority order is agreed, work in this area will continue.

The Association continues to be concerned about the number of training operations that are offering inadequate training and an easy route to “certification”.

Ultimately, employee safety depends on the standard of training received, practiced and understood by the employee followed at the appropriate time with the necessary refresher training and re-certification.


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