Improving the
standard of
safety of those
people required to
work at height.

WAHA - News Blog

E-News - Safe Working at Height - More than a Fall Issue!

We are all aware of the dangers and risks associated with Working at Height. However, when we think about the risk, we tend to only think about falls. Fall statistics remain at a stubbornly high level as shown below:-

Fatalities from Falls from Height Statistics - Source - Work Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2015
2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015
Fatalities ** 155 181 146 146 132 142
Falls from Height 26 32 29 22 24 26
% of Fatalities 17% 18% 20% 15% 18% 18%
** Excludes vehicle collisions

However, there is a second high risk area resulting from working at height accidents and, the results are remarkably similar.
These fatalities result from persons being hit by objects dropped from height:

Fatalities from Being Hit by Falling Object - Source - Work Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2015
2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015
Fatalities ** 155 181 146 146 132 142
Falls from Height 25 24 15 27 25 21
% of Fatalities 16% 13% 10% 18% 19% 15%
** Excludes vehicle collisions

The table below then shows that - over the analysis period - more than one third of all industrial fatalities (excluding vehicle collisions) - resulted for errors of judgement by individuals while working at height - whether by an error of judgement resulting in a fall or an error of judgement by releasing an object while working at height.

Fatalities from Being Hit by Falling Object - Source - Work Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2015
2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015
Fatalities ** 155 181 146 146 132 142
Combined Height 51 56 44 49 49 47
% of Fatalities 33% 31% 30% 34% 37% 33%
** Excludes vehicle collisions

The Association’s interest in working with Regulators and industry is therefore clear and reflects the genuine, ongoing need to keep a strong focus on these issues.

E-News - Anchors - Manufacturers Installation Instructions

There has been much discussion in the industry - between anchor manufacturers, installers, re-certifiers and the actual anchor asset owners - on the availability of manufacturer’s installation instructions to allow anchor / anchor system inspection and re-certification.

The Association is developing Industry guidelines in an attempt to address this issue and - ultimately - to ensure that anchors and anchor systems are certified as safe for use or, if not, are taken out of service.

The Association members continue to report large numbers of “incorrect installations” in their travels in the field. These can relate to installation not in line with manufacturers instructions (as discussed above) as well as system layout issues - such as lifelines running across fragile roof structures / skylights - and non conformance to design requirements as detailed in various Australian Standards.

The Association is considering a new section on the WAHA website showing photographs of incorrect installations along with a photograph showing what an equivalent correct installation should look like. This is about to be trialled on a “member only” basis to define a suitable format for wider release.

Clearly, manufacturers are responsible for the design and testing of their anchors and their fixing method to a variety of substrates. Equally, those manufacturers have the choice of selecting who they train - companies and individual employees - to install those anchors on their behalf.

Details of the correct installation in accordance with the manufacturer’s anchor fixing method is an essential part of the “system file” that is recommended to be provided with the system from installation, along with correct system usage records, through to re-certification at the required time. The “system file” should be maintained through the life of the system.

Manufacturers installation instructions are an essential information source to enable independent system re-certifiers to inspect, test and re-certify anchors and anchor systems. Although the industry code for installations is being revised, in the interim we recommend that you seek verification from the manufacturer as to the suitability and compliance of your height safety system installation if you are at all unsure as to its safety.

E-News - Basic Training Course Standardisation

The Training and Confined Space Categories have been working together on the format of two basic training courses:

Basic Safe Working at Height
and
Basic Safe Confined Space Entry

The Category members believe that the training course outlines that are taken to the market need to be much more specific and are working along the following agreed guidelines for course content:

  • Clear identification of what content has to be delivered - and the minimum quality of that content.
  • How the training should be delivered and the equipment that must be used / demonstrated.
  • The practical competencies that must be demonstrated by trainees at the end of the course before they are certified as competent.
  • The minimum expected course duration - which may vary depending on the number of trainees or the trainee to instructor ratio.

The Association believes that there needs to be significant rationalisation on Units of Competency in both areas - as well as the number of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) delivering the courses. For example, there are currently 14 different Units of Competency related to working in confined spaces, with 495 different Registered Training Organisations authorised to deliver the single RIIWHA202D Unit of Competency.

In the height and confined space training arena, a secondary but major consideration is the need for re-certification or refresher training.

Even those that regularly undertake work at height or enter confined spaces need refresher training. Refresher training is seen as essential from a risk management point of view and it also provides the opportunity to update workers on new products and techniques as well as to eliminate any bad habits that may have developed since the original training.

Draft versions of the code will be circulated to members in June.

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