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Safe work at heights This presentation assists Department locations to manage fall hazards in their workplace. The notes section in this presentation provides.

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Presentation on theme: "Safe work at heights This presentation assists Department locations to manage fall hazards in their workplace. The notes section in this presentation provides."— Presentation transcript:

1 Safe work at heights This presentation assists Department locations to manage fall hazards in their workplace. The notes section in this presentation provides explanatory information about the concepts outlined in the slides. This includes prompts to assist presenters/users with background information, definitions, examples and discussion points.

2 Falls Are a major cause of work related fatalities and serious injuries in Australia. Within the Department, falls from height accounts for approximately 7% of compensable injuries. There are specific regulations relating to the management of fall hazards.  Falls from one level to another are a major cause of work related fatalities and serious injuries in Australia. These injuries often result in permanent disability, sometimes even death. Falling objects can also cause serious injuries if controls are not implemented to eliminate or minimise the associated risks. For example, a person can receive fatal head injuries if an unsecured object is dropped from height. Even falls from low heights have the potential to cause serious injury and must be managed. You should only work at height when there is no other reasonable alternative. This presentation will help workplaces to identify, assess and eliminate or control fall hazards in your workplaces

3 Definitions Fall - a fall by a person from one level to another.
Falling object – an unsecured object (e.g. a spanner) falling from height can cause serious injuries if controls are not implemented to eliminate or minimise the associated risks. Fall hazard means a circumstance that exposes a worker in a workplace to a risk of a fall that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the worker or other person. A fall from any height, large or small has the potential to cause injury. The impact of the injury may range from a minor inconvenience to a serious injury all the way through to a possible fatality. It is very important to manage the risk of falls from height in the workplace. E.g. a fall from the unprotected edge of a roof. Falling objects can also cause serious injuries if controls are not implemented to eliminate or minimise the associated risks. A person can receive fatal head injuries if an unsecured object is dropped from a height e.g. a spanner that is dropped by a worker from the top of a ladder that hits a worker below on the head. It is essential to ensure that objects do not fall onto people who may be under or next to the area where the work is being carried out. A fall hazard is an anything that exposes a worker or another person to the risk of a fall that may injure them. E.g. selection of equipment not suited to the job: a worker standing on the top step of a ladder to add height when they should have selected a taller ladder is a potential fall hazard.

4 Legislation Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Part 4.4 Falls) Code of Practice – Managing the risk of falls in workplaces 2011 The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 include specific duties in relation to controlling the risk of falls (Regulation Part 4.4 Falls) . The Legislation requires you do whatever is ‘reasonably practicable*’ to protect people from harm for all work activities, not just construction. Deciding what is reasonably practicable to manage the risk of fall from heights requires you to take into account and weigh up all relevant matters relating to your heights activity. This includes thinking about: the likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned occurring the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk knowledge about the hazard or risk, and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk, and after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk. The process of managing risk from work at heights discussed in this Power Point Presentation and the resources available on the CHW Work at Heights webpage will help you decide what is reasonably practicable in particular situations so that you can meet your duty of care under the WHS laws. *Reasonably practicable - A safe and healthy workplace does not happen by chance or guesswork. You have to think about what could go wrong at your workplace and what the consequences could be. Then you must do whatever you can to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from your business or undertaking (WHS Act s18). This includes a risk management process that considers what is available and sustainable to eliminate or minimise the risk.

5 Key legislative elements
Legislation applies to falls from one level to another i.e. from any height. A new five-level hierarchy of controls specifically for work at heights has replaced the generic hierarchy of controls (elimination, substitution, engineering, PPE, administrative controls). Ladders and administrative controls are now only to be used as a last resort when it is not reasonably practicable to use higher level controls. If ladders or administrative controls are used for fall hazards over 2 metres, a record must be made of the control to be used and a reason why higher controls were not reasonably practicable The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Regulation) - Part 4.4 has specific requirements regarding the management of fall hazards. These requirements must be implemented by workplaces. The Regulation does not differentiate between height distances. Requirements apply to all fall hazards from one level to another, regardless of the distance from the ground, (R78) including the use of low level platforms and ladders. Part 4.4 does not apply to falls at the same level (e.g. simply tripping or falling over). The Regulation provides a five level hierarchy of control that stipulates the options to manage fall hazards (R79). The hierarchy begins with the level 1 control: elimination - the most effective hazard control strategy. A lower order control (e.g. level 4 fall arrest or level 5 ladders and administration) can only be used when it is not reasonably practicable to use a higher one. This will be discussed in more detail on later slides.

6 Department resources to assist with compliance
Working at Heights DETE Guideline Working at Heights Inspection Tool Risk Assessment Template for working at height SWMS Template for work where risk of fall is >2m Generic heights equipment SOPs Regional Senior Health and Safety Consultants Note: There is a prohibition on Department staff, students and volunteers being on, or working on roofs at all state school facilities The Department has a range of resources to assist its workplaces to comply with legislated requirements. These are available from the Working at Heights page on the Creating Healthier Workplaces website (http://education.qld.gov.au/health/safety/hazards/heights.html). These documents explain what is required and provide practical assistance to achieve compliance. Most importantly, these documents provide information to help you to work safely at height. Within the Department, there have been several incidents involving falls from roofs and walkways that have resulted in staff and students suffering very serious injury (e.g. broken legs, punctured lungs, lacerations). As such, staff, students and volunteers being on or working on roofs in all state school facilities has been deemed an unacceptable risk by the Department and has been prohibited. This said, staff are still able to access a roof to complete a task when necessary (as opposed to being ON or working ON a roof). An example of this may be retrieving an object on the roof. A staff member could use a ladder to access roof level, then whilst standing on the ladder, use a pole to reach the object on the roof. When using extension tools, staff are reminded to check that there are no nearby electrical hazards such as power lines or solar panel cables and maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder at all times. Any work where there is a risk of fall greater than 2 m (i.e. a fall height ≥m) requires a safe work method statement in Department workplaces. Note to presenter- this is an important concept to emphasise: The fall height is defined as the distance between the ground or surface (e.g. floor) and the feet. For example, if you have climbed a ladder in the classroom and your feet are 0.8 m above the floor, the fall height is 0.8m. If you have set up mobile scaffold next to the edge of a stage that is 1.2 m above the auditorium floor and your scaffold work platform is 3.5 m above the stage, the fall height is (1.2 m m = 4.7 m).

7 Examples of incidents in the Department
Fell when standing on a fence and cutting down a tree Hammer fell from storage rack, striking person’s foot Fell off stage Cleaning fans on a ladder, stepped back and fell Fell off roof cleaning gutters Standing on ladder reaching to spray wasp nest and fell on iron gate Fell off roof when doing roof maintenance Standing on desk winding a high window, fell backwards Overbalanced while standing on chair to write on the blackboard Hanging artwork in room, fell backwards off a desk These examples show the types of common activities that have caused injury in departmental workplaces due to poor risk management practices. They show why it is important to plan activities when there is a risk of fall, even if the distance of the fall does not seem very large. Identifying the hazards you may be exposed to is the first stage in managing fall hazards. Once you know what the hazards are, you can work out the best way to manage them to eliminate or minimise any risk they pose. Note to Presenter: Consider using some of these examples as a discussion point to identify what hazards may have been present and how they could have been better managed. E.g. opening high windows – consider: a) don’t open them, b) use an extension tool c) use a platform ladder if you must access them rather than equipment not designed for the task.

8 What is a fall hazard? A fall hazard is an anything that exposes a worker or another person to the risk of a fall that may injure them. Falls most often occur because there is no physical barrier or method in place to stop a person or an object from falling. Situations that pose fall hazards include when a worker is: in or on plant or a structure that is at an elevated level (e.g. a covered walkway) in or on plant that is being used to gain access to an elevated level (e.g. a ladder) near an opening through which a person could fall (e.g. an open pit) near an edge over which a person could fall (e.g. standing near the edge of a roof, standing under scaffold) on or near a surface through which a person could fall (e.g. a fragile roof or skylight) on or near a slippery, sloping or unstable surface (e.g. a steep embankment) Being aware of the hazard around you when working where there is risk of a fall and managing them effectively is the best way to prevent or minimise the risk of injury.

9 Common Fall Hazards in the Department
Retrieving items from the roofs (e.g. balls, shoes) Cleaning roof gutters Cleaning high windows, fans Changing light bulbs Opening/closing out of reach windows Hanging classroom displays Accessing items on high shelving The tasks listed are seemingly straight forward jobs we might undertake in our everyday roles. However, they all pose fall hazards that may result in injury. Many injuries occur because: Equipment is not used and maintained correctly (e.g. school outdoor display boards, damaged ladders not taken out of service and replaced) Inappropriate equipment is used to “save” time and effort (e.g. using a chair, climbing on a desk or fence instead of using a stable work platform). Poor decision making Poor design (as shown above)

10 Common Fall Hazards cont…
Easy access to roofs (poor design) Working on roofs Using ladders Working on fragile, slippery or sloping surfaces Identifying the hazards and working out how to control them effectively is key to managing risks and getting home safely at the end of the day. A risk assessment is an effective tool to help you manage risks. It is a good idea to: Use the Department Work at Heights Inspection Tool as a starting point to identify workplace hazards. Record all identified fall hazards (e.g. MyHR hazard report form) and ensure that control measures are implemented immediately to eliminate/reduce the risk associated with that hazard.

11 What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment process aims to remove fall hazards or reduce the level of their risk by adding precautions to keep you and others safe. The process is: Identify fall hazards. Evaluate the risk associated with any hazards. Determine appropriate ways to eliminate or control the hazard. By controlling the risks, you have created a safer work environment for you and others. Assuming that work at height cannot be avoided, all work needs to be properly planned, organised and managed. In practical terms, a risk assessment is a thorough look at your workplace to identify those things, situations, processes, etc. that may cause harm, particularly to people. After hazards are identified, you evaluate how likely and severe the risk is, and then decide what measures should be in place to effectively prevent or control the harm from happening. Risk assessments are always more effective if you take the time to consult with others in your workplace. They may have additional ideas or experiences that can help workers complete the task properly. Ideally, the person completing the task is involved in the risk assessment process. Once you have identified the ways you will control the risks, consider how risky it will be to continue with the activity if things go wrong. e.g. If a fall were to occur, there would likely be a minor injury requiring no more than first aid or a serious injury requiring hospitalisation, or even death? Just going through the risk assessment process does not mean you should automatically proceed with the activity- you need to consider all the information in the assessment and make a judgement on what the level of residual risk is and whether this residual risk is acceptable. Consider whether it is acceptable and ask yourself….should I proceed or not? If the level of risk is acceptable, continue the activity. If the level of remaining risk is still too high, consider: using a contractor, don’t continue, or change your control measures to reduce the level of risk. Whatever control measures you decide on in your risk assessment, you need to implement these before you start work. If you have a SWMS, you must strictly follow the processes described in the statement.

12 Control Measures for Fall Risks
Follow the Five Level Hierarchy of Controls…….(Level 1 is safest, Level 5 the least effective). Work your way down the hierarchy when deciding on control measures. Only move to a lower level where it is not “reasonably practicable” to use a higher order control. Allocate budget and resources to ensure that falling hazards are eliminated or minimised. Once the hazards and risks have been identified, you will need to control them so far as is reasonably practicable. The legislation requires fall hazards to be managed according to the fall from heights hierarchy of control, starting at level 1. Level 1 controls have the highest level of health and safety protection and are the most reliable.

13 Five Level Hierarchy of Controls
Level 1: Perform the work on the ground or on a solid construction. Level 2: Use a passive fall prevention device e.g. cherry picker, install guard rails, mobile scaffold. Level 3: Use a work positioning system e.g. a travel restraint system Level 4: Use a fall arrest system Level 5: Use a ladder or administrative control The hierarchy begins with elimination (level 1) - the most effective hazard control strategy. A lower order control measure (e.g. level 2,3, 4 or 5) can only be used when it is not reasonable practicable to use a higher one. To manage the risk of falls, you are required to follow the hierarchy of controls for work at height as follows: avoid the risk by not working at height (e.g. Level 1 - work from an existing platform, using extendable equipment etc.). If it is not practicable to do the work safely in some other way then: use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls (level 2); or where the risk of a fall cannot be eliminated, use further controls to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur (levels 3- 5).

14 Level 1: Perform Work from Ground or Solid Construction
Ask yourself: Do I really need top work at height? If you don’t need to go up, then don’t! Examples: Use a long handled device to clean high windows, gutters, change signboards etc. Use a contractor to complete work Level 1 – the best control measures Level 1 - Perform work on ground or on a solid construction (e.g. fixed platform) to eliminate the hazard Work at ground level (e.g. long handled tools) or work from a solid platform. Get a contractor in to do the job. For example: Cleaning roof gutters – Eliminate the need to clean roof gutters or perform the work from the ground remove trees that drop leaves if near to buildings so that there is a reduced need (if any) to clean the gutters. install a good quality gutter guard to prevent leafs and other debris from collecting in gutters. perform the task from the ground - use a device that can be operated from the ground such as a vacuum cleaner system Other examples: Retrieving balls from roof – work from the ground using an extendable pole and grabber device. Changing letters on signboards – use electronic signboards, one that can be lowered to the ground, or a letter-changing pole. Accessing high shelves – store items at lower heights so workers can access items from ground. Painting - use extendable handles on paint rollers. Cleaning high windows and fans – use long handled devices Consider redesigning the work environment e.g. install a pulley system to raise and lower classroom displays rather than climb a ladder to put them up and pull them down.

15 Level 2: Passive Fall Prevention Device
Passive devices are used for temporary work at heights and are designed to prevent workers from falling. Once in place they do not require any further adjustment by workers using the device. Level 2 - Use a passive fall prevention device. If level 1 controls are not practicable, then consider using level 2 controls. This equipment will: prevent a fall; protect more than one person does not need to be altered once installed. have no ongoing costs such compliance inspections or training requirements Examples include: edge protection or guard railing installed on roofs and around roof mounted plant (such as air conditioners) temporary work platforms - fixed and mobile scaffolds elevating work platforms - scissor lifts, cherry pickers, tele-pickers portable or mobile fabricated platforms roof safety mesh It is acceptable for schools to hire or purchase this type of equipment. Schools may like to consider cluster arrangements amongst neighbouring school for this equipment. However, these control measures are to be accompanied by appropriate training, instruction and supervision. Note: Any work over two metres above the ground (measured from the feet) or 1.5 m below a surface (e.g. in a trench) is considered high risk in Department workplaces. Work of this nature requires a safe work method statement (SWMS). These are discussed later.

16 Level 3: Work Positioning System
These systems involve the use of equipment that allows a person to work supported in a harness under tension in such a way that a fall is prevented. Example A skilled contractor uses a travel restraint system when performing work on a roof CONTRACTOR ONLY Level 3 - Use a work positioning system - to be used by contractors in Department workplaces rather than by staff Level 3 ‘work positioning systems’ prevent workers falling over an unprotected edge. They therefore minimise the height of the hazard and the consequences of a fall. Their effectiveness is reliant on the competence of the user. Work positioning systems can be used only if Level 1 and 2 passive fall protection devices are not practicable. Level 3. Work Positioning System E.g. Travel restraint system or industrial rope access systems- This control option demands high levels of competency and supervision and carefully selected, maintained and tested equipment. Users require ongoing training and administrative procedures need to be developed and regularly reviewed. It is recommended that contractors undertake this type of work. In schools these activities are to be undertaken by appropriate contractors. Contractors using these systems in schools must comply with all legislated and industry Code of Practice requirements.

17 Level 4: Fall Arrest System
Level 4 systems minimise injury once a fall has occurred rather than avoiding it in the first place. They should NOT be used unless: the operator is trained, has a high level of skill, and undertakes ongoing training. systems undergo regular inspection. there is at least one other competent person present to perform a rescue in case of a fall. CONTRACTOR ONLY Level 4 - Use a fall arrest system e.g. a safety harness - to be used by contractors in Department workplaces rather than by staff Fall arrest systems are often confused with work positioning systems, but are fundamentally different. Level 3 Work positioning systems prevent the fall from occurring at all, whereas a level 4 fall arrest system is designed to minimise injury once a fall has occurred rather than avoiding it in the first place. This control option requires high levels of competency, training and supervision. These systems: must be carefully selected, maintained, inspected and tested. must be installed by people with specialist technical skills. A fall arrest system should NOT be used unless there is at least one other competent person on the site who can perform a rescue. Self-rescue is not an option since the risk of serious injury through the pendulum effect (hanging from the harness) and suspension trauma (hanging in the harness for a long period) is introduced. It is very easy for even well-trained users to make potentially lethal mistakes. In schools these activities are to be undertaken by appropriate contractors. Example: A school requires roof work to be undertaken. A specialist contractor uses an individual safety harness when performing work on a roof. Contractors should be used since: fall arrest systems, at best, leave a worker hanging in the event of an accident. This means they must be watched over by a trained supervisor who has a rescue plan in place (R80). users require high skill levels and regular ongoing training and recertification to operate these devices. Maintenance and recertification represent considerable ongoing expense. training must be supported by the development of administrative procedures that are subject to constant review (e.g. rescue plans, SWMS, 6 monthly equipment inspections (AS1891), maintenance and testing logs, compliance with manufacturer’s instructions).

18 Level 5: Use a Ladder or Administrative Controls
These options may only be considered if it is not reasonably practicable to use any of the higher order controls. Ladders should only be used: as a work platform for light work of short duration. if they are manufactured for industrial use and have a load rating of ≥120kg. Many falls take place when people are working from ladders. The use of ladders and administrative controls are the least effective control measure for heights work because they rely on people’s behaviour to reduce the risk of a fall. These options may only be considered if it is not reasonably practicable to use any of the higher order controls. If level 5 controls are selected for fall hazards of over 2 metres, a record must be made of the control and the reason why higher order controls cannot be used. To comply with Department requirements, any work with a fall hazard greater than 2 m requires a safe work method statement regardless of whether the work is construction work or not. In addition, if level 5 controls are selected for fall hazards of over 2 metres, a record must be made of the control and the reason why higher order controls cannot be used. Other options (e.g. an elevating work platform, scaffolding or platform ladder) are to be assessed as to whether they would be safer or more efficient or more suited to the task. Consider key hazards such as work position, over reach and setup before using a ladder. Select a ladder suited to the work. Eg. use a step platform, which looks like a step ladder with an inbuilt work platform. Extension or single ladders should only be used as a means of access to or egress from a work area, not as a working platform. As with any fall prevention measure, this type of platform should be used only after a risk assessment has been conducted that demonstrates the platform can be used safely. This must also be accompanied by training and safe work procedures. The department has a range of generic safe operating procedures for ladder use that can be adapted to suit your work requirements. These are located on the Working at Heights webpage.

19 Level 5: Use a Ladder or Administrative Controls
Administrative controls are also Level 5 controls. These are systems of work or work procedures that help to reduce the exposure of employees to fall hazards where it is not reasonably practicable to use higher level controls. They may also be used to support other control measures that are put in place. For example: Work access permits may be used to control work access and authorisation. Work procedures may be needed to ensure the safe use of temporary work platforms, fall arrest systems and ladders (for example ladder SOPs; SWMS). Limit the time workers are exposed to a fall hazard and/or the number of workers involved in the task. No go zones may be used to exclude staff/students/visitors from work areas. Work may be scheduled to eliminate potential exposure to fall hazards (e.g. pedestrian traffic during lunch time breaks). People who perform a task regularly often have a good understanding of the risks involved and can provide valuable input into establishing administrative controls. It is also important to involve contractors in the development of administrative controls when you are contracting work out.

20 Training Employees should be trained in safe operations before attempting to do any activities involving fall hazards. Training is to be commensurate with the level of risk and types of controls to be used. Some plant, machinery and activities require specific training and licencing. Eg: erection of scaffold. The amount and type of information, training and instruction required will depend on the risk involved, the complexity of the work procedures and the type of control measures used. Information, training and instruction to workers may cover: the hazards and risks related to the task – this may include other issues such as proximity to energy supplies (electrical, solar, gas) for example the type of control measures used to prevent falls (e.g. the systems of work to be used) the correct use of tools and equipment used in the work the importance of checking equipment before use and undertaking maintenance control measures for other potential hazards - for example, electrical safety procedures for reporting fall hazards and incidents. Specialised training and licensing - Check with suppliers about training, licencing and inspection requirements before purchasing, hiring or installing items such as scaffold, elevating work platforms and anchor points. Training for these activities is available through Registered Training Organisations. Training records should describe the training undertaken and be retained by the workplace for 10 years.

21 Department risk management processes
Work at Heights Task Required Actions Any activity that involves being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility. Do not proceed. Being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility is prohibited for all school staff, students and visitors. Activities where you already know the risks and know how to control them. Review and adhere to an existing risk assessment or Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or Safe Operating Procedure (SOP). A new activity or a significant change to an existing activity that involves a fall hazard of less than 2 metres. Complete and adhere to a risk assessment. Apply the hierarchy of control starting at level 1 (elimination). If ladders are used, you must state why you are not using a higher level control. Tasks that involve fall hazards of 2 metres or more above the ground (measured from the feet). OR Tasks that involve fall hazards of 1.5 metres below ground level (measured from the feet). Complete and adhere to a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) Develop and adhere to any SOPs relevant to the safe completion of the task e.g. for plant and equipment, pre-start procedures. There are several risk management pathways that you are required to follow to remain safe while working at height and to comply with legislative and departmental requirements. Resources to help you manage the risk of falls can be found on the CHW Working at heights page: A few helpful points to remember: If you have a number of different work areas or activities and the fall hazards are the same, you may perform a single (or generic) risk assessment. However, you should carry out a risk assessment on individual fall hazards if there is any likelihood that a person may be exposed to greater, additional or different risks. The SWMS must break down the job into a series of ”step by step” tasks to ensure the hazards are identified for each step and controls are implemented to control the risks associated with each step. It is important that tasks are monitored and reviewed and any changes (e.g. improved control measures) are documented on the risk assessment/SOP/SWMS and communicated to staff for the next time the task is undertaken.

22 Common example – gutter cleaning
Can you install good quality gutter guard to eliminate the need to clean gutters? Identify and remove tree branches that are located too close to buildings and result in leaves etc. blocking gutters. Elimination of the problem will eliminate the need to work at height. Gutter guard may also be useful to help balls and other objects to roll off the roof, eliminating the need to climb a ladder to retrieve them.

23 Common example – high shelves
Use a long handled device to retrieve balls/bags/shoes on the roof or out of reach items on high shelves Alternatively, store items at a lower level to discourage people from grabbing the nearest chair, desk or box to reach a high item, or purchase a fit for purpose industrial step stool. Many injuries are caused to people using items that are not designed to access heights. A worker is always to use plant or equipment for the purposes for which it was designed.

24 Common example – high windows/lights
Can high windows be opened using a long handled tool or device? Avoid opening high windows if they are difficult to access Can you use a step platform ladder instead of a step ladder? Discussion point –Presenters may like to use this slide to initiate discussion about hazard identification and control for these tasks

25 Key Messages Eliminate the need to perform tasks that expose persons to a risk of falling The new Five Level Hierarchy of Controls is to be followed to decide upon control measures Stay off ladders if at all possible – they should be used as a last resort Under no circumstances should chairs, tables, shelves etc. be used to gain access to heights. Only persons who have been trained and who are deemed to be competent should perform activities that involve fall hazards. Allocate budget and resources to ensure that fall hazards are eliminated or minimised Avoid exposing yourself to the risk of a fall from height. If you are not sure about working at height safely, speak up and seek some help. If you see someone doing the wrong thing, ask them to stop and reconsider what they are doing. Take care, remain alert and think about what you are doing at all times if you must do work where there is a risk of fall or falling objects.


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