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CPC30611 - Certificate III in Painting and Decoratin g
CPCCCM2010B Work safely at heights
Kontea Pty Ltd Trading as Australian Indus ...
CPC30611 - Certificate III in Painting and Decoratin g
CPCCCM2010B Work safely at heights
Kontea Pty Ltd Trading as Australian Industrial Systems Institute, ACN 123 724 336 Provider Number: 21916, CRICOS Number: 02838D Level 1, 398 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia Tel: (61 3) 9670 -0915, Fax: (61 3) 9670 -0918
Learner Resource and Assessment Tasks
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Table of Contents
About CPCCCM2010B Work safely at heights ................................ ................................ ...................... 3
Falls Prevention ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 6
Employers ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 8
Exceptions and Exemptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 9
Relevant Legislation (Victoria) ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 9
Employees ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 11
How To Comply ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11
Working in the Construction Industry ................................ ................................ ................................ . 14
Risk Control Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 21
Personal Fall Protection ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 24
Protective Clothing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 28
Access E quipment ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 30
Work Environment ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 39
Maintenance of Plant, Equipment and Structures ................................ ................................ .............. 43
Fatigue ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 46
Fall Prevention - Code of Practice ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 49
AS SESSMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 101
Assessment Outcome record ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 133
These additional notes should be read in conjunction with:
x Barry's Introduction to Construction of Buildings, 2 nd Edition, Stephen Emmitt and
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About CPCCCM2010B Work safely at heights
This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to work safely on construction sites
where the work activity involves working above 1.5 metres from ground level and where fall
protection measures are required.
Application of the Unit
Construction work is undertaken on domestic and commercial work sites within new construction,
renovation or refurbishment, and maintenance.
No t applicable.
CPCCOHS2001A Apply OHS requirements, policies and procedures in the construction industry
Elements and Performance Criteria Pre -Content
Elements describe the
essential outcomes of a
unit of competency.
Performance criteria des cribe the performance needed to demonstrate
achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further
information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and
the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent
with the evidence guide.
Elements and Performance Criteria
1 Identify work area
1.1 Site of proposed work at heights is identified from relevant
1.2 Method of accessing work area is identified.
1.3 Tasks to be completed are identified from work orders and
1.4 Fall protection equipment is identified if required by site job
workplace health and safety (WHS) analysis and statutory and
1.5 Approved methods of moving tools and equipment to work area are
identified to minimise potential of falling objects, removal of scaffold
components, inappropriate carrying of materials on ladders, and
excessive bending or twisting in pass -up situations.
2 Access work area. 2.1 Fall protection equipment where required is correctly fitted, adjusted
2.2 Arrangements are made to appropriately install required equipment
taking account of all potential hazards .
2.3 Appropriate methods are used to access work area for self, tools and
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equipment , and materials .
2.4 Tools and materials are placed to eliminate or at least minimise the
risk of items being knocked down.
3 Conduct work
3.1 Work is conducted following workplace approved procedures.
3.2 Fall protection equipment is kept in place and adjusted appropriately
to cater for movement during work.
3.3 Scaffold components and fall barriers are kept in place during work.
3.4 Egress from work area is completed following work site supervisor
approved methods for self, tools, materials and environmental
Required Skills and Knowledge
This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.
Required skills for this unit are:
x communication skills to:
x enable clear and direct communication, using questioning to identify and confirm
requirements, share information, listen and understand
x use language and concepts appropriate to cultural differences
x use and interpret non -verbal communication, such as hand signals
x organisational skills, including the ability to plan and set out work
x teamwork skills to work with others to action tasks and relate to people from a range of
cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
x technological skills to:
x use a range of mobile technology
x voice and hand signals to access and understand site -specific instructions.
Required knowledge for this unit is:
x construction terminology
x job safety analysis (JSA) and safe work method statements
x material safety data sheets (MSDS)
x quality requirements
x types, characteristics, uses and limitation of plant, tools and equipment
x workplace and equipment safety requirements .
The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the
performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment
Guidelines for the Training Package.
Overview of assessment This unit of competency could be assessed in the workplace or a
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close simulation of the workplace environment, provided that
simulated or project -based assessment techniques fully replicate
construction workplace conditions, materials, activities,
responsibilities and procedures.
Critical aspects for
assessment and e vidence
required to demonstrate
competency in this unit
A person who demonstrates competency in this unit must be able to
provide evidence of the ability to:
x locate, interpret and apply relevant information, standards
x comply with site s afety plan, OHS regulations and state and
territory legislation applicable to workplace operations
x safely and effectively use tools, plant and equipment
x communicate and work effectively and safely with others
x select and use appropriate height access and fa ll protection
equipment and work methods, including inspecting fall
protection equipment, scaffold and fall barriers for faults
x apply knowledge of industry products to identify:
x manual handling risks
x types of lifting and support structures approved for use
x modify work activities to cater for variations in work site
procedures, contexts and environment and use appropriate
behaviour for safe work at heights
x use safe handling requirements, based on information
provided, for equipment, products and materials.
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WORKING SAFELY AT HEIGHTS 1
Falls from even moderate heights can leave workers with permanent and debilitating injuries.
The risk of serious injury or death from a fall increases significantly if you are working at heights
over two metres.
While falls can occur in all industries, they are most common in construction, manufacturing,
community services, trade, communications, transport and storage.
What Are Falls?
Employers have a duty to ensure their workplace is safe, and this means controlling the risk of falls
from any height.
Analysis has shown that the risk of injury from a fall increases significantly for falls from two metres
1 Source: Worksafe Victoria, Falls Prevention, as at http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety -and -prevention/health -and -
safety -topics/falls -prevention ; SafeWork SA, Working at Heights as at
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The prevention of falls part of the OHS regulations applie s when there is a risk of a fall of more
than two metres.
Typical falls that cause death and injury include those resulting from:
x Using unsafe or incomplete scaffolds
x Inappropriate ladders/ladder use
x Falling from or through roofs
x Falls from trucks
x Falls into holes, pits or shafts
x Accessing shelving
x Accessing mezzanine areas.
What Injuries Can Falls Cause?
Falls from height are a common cause of death in workplaces across Victoria.
Even from a relatively low height, a fall can cause very serious injuri es, including fractures, spinal
cord injury, concussions and brain damage.
Your Legal Duties
New regulations for Occupational Health and Safety came into effect on 1 July 2007 .
The OHS Regulations apply to situations where a person can fall more than two metres.
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Compliance And Enforcement
WorkSafe applies a strategy of ‘constructive compliance’ – a combination of incentives and
deterrents – to improve workplace health and safety.
This strategy recognises that real and sustainable improvement in workplace health and safety
requires active involvement from employers and employees in identifying hazards and controlling
risks. It also recognises that enforcement action, including prosecution, may be taken whether or
not a breach of Victoria’s OHS laws has res ulted in death, injury, or disease.
As an employer, you have a general duty to make your workplace safe. This includes controlling
the risk of falls. If there is a risk of a fall of more than two metres, specific duties apply.
You must identify any task where a person may fall more than two metres.
If it is reasonably practicable, you must eliminate the risk by doing the work on the ground or on a
If this is not practicable, you must control the risk using the following measures in order of priority:
1. use a passive fall prevention device
2. use a work positioning system to ensure employees work within a safe area
3. use a fall arrest system to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall
4. use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement an administrative control
If you use a control measure other than working on the ground or on a solid construction, you
must establish emergency procedures covering the rescue of an employee in the event of a fall
and provisi on of first aid .
Any equipment of materials used to control the risk of a fall must be designed and constructed for
the task and the conditions it will be used in.
Likewise, fixed or portable ladders must be suitable for the task and set up properly .
If y ou are using only an administrative control, you must record what it is and the task for which it
is being used.
You must review (and, where necessary, revise) your risk controls if things change or at the
request of a health and safety representative.
Em ployers also have a duty to consult employees and health and safety representatives when
identifying hazards and deciding on control measures.
If your worker has a work -related injury or illness, you have duties under the Accident
Compensation Act, one o f which is to ensure their safe return to work. The employer's obligations
x appoint a return to work coordinator,
x develop and implement a return to work plan, and
x support and monitor your worker when they return to work.
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Exceptions and Exemptions
You do not have to comply with the specific duties in the prevention of falls part of the OHS
regulations 2007 if a task is being done on parts of a building or structure, such as stairs, fixed
ladders, r amps and balconies, provided:
x they comply with Australian Standard for the design, construction and installation of fixed
platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders (AS 1657)
x they comply with the Victorian Building Regulations 2006; and
x they are being used for their proper purpose
Certain types of work, such as stunt work, sporting activities and performance are not covered by
Requirements for emergency services employees
There are some slight differences in the legal requirements covering emergency service
employees and law enforcement officers.
Relevant Legislation (Victoria)
Legislation, guidance and codes of practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupation al Health & Safety Regulations 2007 (3.3 Prevention of Falls)
AS/NZS 1892 – Portable Ladders (Metal, wood and plastic)
AS/NZS 1892.5:2000 Portable Ladders – Selection, safe use and care
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Your employer is required to protect you from the risk of falls in the workplace.
At the same time, you have a general duty to take reasonable care for your own health and
safety, and that of others who may be affected by your work, and to cooperate with y our
employer’s efforts to make the workplace safe.
This may include:
x following workplace policies and procedures
x using equipment properly
x attending health and safety training , and
x helping to identify hazards and risks.
You and your Health and Safety Representatives have a right to be consulted by your employer in
regard to identifying falls hazards and deciding on control measures.
How To Comply
There are many common solutions for preventing falls in the workplace, which can be readily
But it is not enough to simply eliminate the obvious risks – by law employers are responsible for
controlling all potential safety hazards in their workplace.
Where solutions are not obvious, employers should use a process to help them determine the
most effective measures for safeguarding their workplace from the risk of falls.
WorkSafe uses a range of guidance materials to advise on the processes and actions you must
take in order to meet your legal obligations . Compliance Co des, Health and safety solutions and
Guidance notes each provide detailed and specific advice for duty holders seeking to comply with
the OHS Act and regulations.
Employees’ expertise can make a significant contribution to improving workplace heal th and
Regular, proactive consultation can help identify issues in the workplace and build a strong
commitment to health and safety by including all views in the decision -making process.
Under the OHS Act, employers must consult with employees when identifying and assessing falls
hazards or risks, and making decisions about risk control.
'Employees' includes independent contractors (and any employees of the independent
contractor/s) who perform work which the employer has, or should have, control o ver.
If employees are represented by health and safety representatives , the consultation must involve
Hazards must be identified before beginning work. There are a number of ways to identify potential
sources of injury. Selection of the most appropriate procedure to identify the hazards will depend on the
type of work processes and the hazards involved.
Consultation with workers is one of the easiest and most effective means of identifying hazards. Based on
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their experience with a j ob, workers are usually aware of what can go wrong and why. Specialist
practitioners and representatives of industry associations, unions and government bodies may be of
assistance in gathering health and safety information relating to falls from heights.
To prevent serious injuries occurring at your workplace, you need to identify all tasks that involve
the possibility of someone falling more than two metres.
Tasks that may involve a risk of a fall include:
x work done on any machinery, equipment or structure being constructed, inspected,
tested, maintained, repaired or cleaned
x tasks on a fragile, slippery or potentially unstable surface
x using equipment to gain access to an elevated level or to work at an elevated level
x work on a sloping surface where it is difficult to maintain balance
x work near an unprotected edge or in close proximity to a hole, shaft or pit into which a
person could fall
Some typical examples of work practices that involve the risk of a fall include:
x maintenance work on a roof, such as gutter clearing, painting or roof restoration, with no
guarding or fall protection
x working from the bucket of a front -end loader or tractor or from a pallet lifted by a forklift
x no guarding, railing or signage around holes, pits or shafts
x fitting t ruck tarps by climbing across a load without using fall prevention
x working on top of livestock carriers without any fall prevention measures like guardrails
x setting up a ladder on a slippery or uneven surface without securing it to prevent it
x usin g a cherry picker without a safety harness and lanyard connecting the worker to a
suitable anchorage in the basket
Risk assessment allows appropriate control measures to be developed. Once hazards have been
identified, they should be assessed in terms of their risks to incur an injury.
To assess risk, consideration should be given to the:
• likelihood that injury will occur
• severity of the injury should it occur.
Various techniques can be used to carry out a risk assessment. The ‘risk assessment calcula tor’ is an
example of one technique that can be used to assess risk.
Factors to consider when assessing the likelihood and severity of risk that may cause a person to
• condition of the work surface, e.g. an uneven surface or a surface with unprotected edges which
are not identified or are difficult to see
• bad weather conditions, e.g. heavy rain or wind
• number of people who may be at risk
• location of the work area
• location of access routes
• type of work to be carried out
• work practices in use
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• scheduling of work
• type of plant, machinery and equipment to be used
• training and experience of the people carrying out the work
• sudden acceleration or deceleration
• moving from one surface to another
• capability of the surface t o support the load
• change of levels
• loss of hand grip
• type of footwear
• equipment, tools, or rubbish obstructing work areas
• incorrect use of ladders
• clothing catching
• moving surfaces
• likelihood of being struck by a moving or falli ng object.
Work through this list in the following order to control the risk of falls at your workplace. In many
instances, a combination of approaches will result in the best solution.
1. Do the work on the ground or on a solid construction
Example: Use tilt -up concrete construction instead of constructing the concrete walls at a height.
2. Use a passive fall prevention device
Example: Elevating work platform, scaffolding or guard railing.
3. Use a work positioning system
Example: Industrial rope access system or travel restraint system.
4. Install a fall arrest system
Example: Industrial safety net, catch platform or safety harness system.
5. Use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls
Example: Establish a safe work procedure to prevent employees from accessing a brittle and
fragile roof, and put up a sign.
Upon completion of hazard identification and risk assessment, ensure that risks are eliminated or
minimised. To achieve this, implement the following c ontrols in the order set out below:
• eliminate the hazard, e.g. work on the ground where possible
• minimise the risk
- substitute a work method or process with a less hazardous one, e.g. using walkways for access
instead of using ladders
- isolate the ha zard, e.g. using a physical barrier
- modify the system of work or equipment, e.g. by using a travel restraint
• provide back -up controls
- adopt administrative controls so the time or conditions of exposure to the risk is reduced
- use personal protective equipment.
It’s important to review your risk controls regularly to ensure they are implemented correctly and
to monitor their effectiveness .
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You need to review (and, if necessary, revise) your risk controls whenever any changes are made
to the workplace that could increase risks, such as changes to the way work is done.
A review is also necessary if a health and safety representative requests one.
Employees and Health and Safety Representatives must be consulted when reviewing risk controls.
The risk management process requires regular monitoring to ensure the control measures that have been
implemented have performed as intended. Regular reviewing also ensures that the risk management
process continues to prevent or adequately control the ris k of injury from falls from heights.
A written record that details when control measures were last reviewed should be kept.
Working in the Construction Industry 2
This information here gives an overview of the basic rules to follow when working at heights in
Housing Construction. Please note that there are different rules that apply for other construction.
This information is based on the Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls in Housing
Co nstruction (WorkSafe Victoria). You should refer to this Code for details of acceptable safe
Duties and Responsibilities
The builder (or principal contractor) is responsible for the overall management of fall protection. If
a subcontractor prov ides any fall protection, the builder still needs to ensure that it is adequate.
Subcontractors are also responsible for ensuring there is adequate fall protection for their
employees and any subcontractors engaged by them.
Builders should ensure that:
x the contract takes into account any fall protection needs;
x fall hazards and the control measures to prevent a fall have been identified and
documented in a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS);
x subcontractors are competent and understand the correct sequence of critical operations
to be carried out on site;
x effective fall protection measures are implemented and are checked regularly to ensure
that the measures are maintained.
subcontractors must ensure they:
x understand the extent of their responsibilities for fall protection;
x have all the information needed to do the job safely;
x have identified the fall hazards and control measures in a SWMS;
x have trained and instructed their employees on the fall protection measures;
2 Source: Housing Industry Association (HIA), Vic – Safe work at heights general obligations,
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x supervise and check regularly to ensure the measures are maintained.
Falls from more than 2 metres
Before work starts all tasks that may cause an employee or subcontractor to fall more than 2
metres must be identified and action must be taken to eliminat e any risk of falling.
If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk of falling, it must be controlled so far as is
reasonably practicable. The regulations set out a hierarchy of risk controls that must be applied.
The hierarchy is:
Level 1: Undertake the work on the ground or on a solid construction
Level 2: Undertake the work using a passive fall prevention device
Level 3: Undertake the work using a work positioning system
Level 4: Undertake the work using a fall arrest system
Level 5: U ndertake the work from ladders, or implement administrative controls
There are a number of exceptions for housing work that allow safe work methods to be applied in
the specific circumstances detailed in the Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls in Housing
Construction (WorkSafe Victoria) without the need to apply the above hierarchy. For example:
(1) Roofing work up to 3 metres
This work may be performed without physical fall protection if roof pitch is within the “critical
angle” and there is a 2 metre “clear fall zone”.
WorkSafe have announced that from 01 August 2011 this control measure will no longer be
acce ptable. From this date external fall protection in the form of physical edge protection (eg
guardrailing or perimeter scaffolding) should be provided if there is a risk of a fall from a height of
two metres or more. For further information regarding this r equirement go to the WorkSafe
(2) Framing work
Laying of sheet flooring and the construction and standing of second story wall frames may be
performed up to 3.8 metres without physical fall protection. All openings in the frame, such as
doors an d windows, must have handrails and mid rails fitted as the frames are constructed. For
further details of this and other exceptions refer to the Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls
in Housing Construction (WorkSafe Victoria) .
Fall Protection meas ures
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Level 1 - Work on the ground or from solid construction
A solid construction must:
x be able to safely carry all loads involved in the work. Any support props supporting
suspended floors, formwork or similar must be marked with the safe working load. T imber
supports must be designed for the specific load, secured at the top and bottom and tied
to each other across and lengthwise to ensure a secure, free -standing structure;
x be non slip and free from trip hazards and not steeper than a 1 in 8 gradient. C leated or
grated surfaces should not be steeper than 1 in 3 gradient;
x have perimeter protection on exposed edges and additional void protection where
x have a safe means of entry and exit (step ladders or trestles should not be used for entry
Level 2 - Passive fall prevention devices.
Scaffolds are rated light (up to 225 kg per bay), medium (up to 450 kg per bay), or heavy duty (up
to 675 kg per bay). These weights include the weight of any person (approx 80 kg) plus the weight
of materials tools etc.
Elevating work platforms . People working on travel towers, boom lifts or cherry pickers should
wear a properly anchored safety harness. If boom length exceeds 11 m, operators must be
licenced to operate the travel tower, boom lift or cherry picker.
Perimeter guard railing should incorporate a top r ail of 900 mm to 1100 mm above the working
surface, a mid rail and toe board and must be of robust construction and be designed in
accordance with AS 1657 or be constructed using the timber sizes and spans detailed in the code.
Safety mesh is sometimes appropriate for risk control of roofing works.
Level 3 - Work positioning systems.
These enable a worker to be safely positioned and supported. They may include a Travel Restraint
which prevents a worker from approaching an unprotected edge on a building. It usually consists
of a safety harness connected by a lanyard to a suitable anchorage point or static line and must
be carefully set up to avoid a free fall from happening. These systems are only recommended for
short duration tasks, as they need high le vels of user skill.
Level 4 - Fall arrest systems
These include Safety Nets, which allow a worker maximum freedom of movement,and Catch
platforms, which should incorporate a fully planked out deck. A Catch platform should be
positioned as close as possib le to the underside of the work area and in no case greater that 1
metre below the work area.
Level 5 - Portable ladders
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Ladders must be industrial grade, solid and stable and appropriate for the task. All ladders should
be regularly checked for defects and repaired. A ladder should be set up to ensure that it cannot
slip. Single and extension ladders must be placed at a slope of 4 to 1.
A ladder must not be used near a power line, placed in a driveway, used near an open floor or on
scaffolding to gain e xtra height.
A person using a ladder should not overreach, use any tools that normally require two hands to
operate, use tools that require a high degree of leverage (likely to cause over balancing), carry out
work such as arc welding or oxy cutting, work over people or permit any other person on the
ladder at any one time.
Unless there is appropriate fall protection in place, a person who uses a ladder should not face
away from the ladder when going up or down or stand on a rung closer than 900 mm to the t op
of a single or extension ladder or stand higher than the second tread below the top plate of any
Level 5 - Administrative controls
This is controlling the risk by setting out a safe work procedure that reduces a worker’s exposure
to the ri sk of falling. Administrative controls can be used in combination with other fall prevention
systems but if used as the only means of fall prevention it must be recorded e.g. in a Safe Work
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Fall prevention controls measures required in th e construction industry 3
On 15 November 2013 amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (PDF, 2.53
MB) (WHS Regulation) commenced including changes to clarify that specific control measures are
required where there is a risk of a fall of at l east:
x three metres in housing construction work; or
x two metres in other construction work.
This maintains the standards for working from heights in construction that applied under the
repealed WHS Regulation. These construction specific requirements prevai l over the general falls
regulation in section 78 of the WHS Regulation mentioned above.
It is also important to note that control measures may still be required for work below three
metres in housing construction, and below two metres for all other cons truction work, if a risk
assessment suggests control measures should be provided.
Inspectors will take the action described in the table below where there is an uncontrolled risk to a
worker of a fall from one level to another that is likely to cause injury. For example, workers
carrying out construction work above two metres for commercial construction, or above three
metres for housing construction, that are exposed to the risk of a fall may result in the issue of an
Improvement Notice or a Prohibiti on Notice.
Height Expected controls and inspector response
below three metres
An advice to use fall prevention if reasonably practicable, or other
appropriate controls. Consideration will be given to issuing improvement or
prohibition notices if risk is not adequately managed.
above three metres
Fall prevention to be used. If not, an improvement notice or prohibition
notice will be issued.
An advice to use fall prevention if reasonably practicable, or other
appropriate controls. Consideration will be given to issuing improvement or
prohibition notices if risk is not adequately managed.
Fall prevention to be used. If not, an improvement notice or prohibition
notice will be issued.
Safe work method statements
For construction work in particular, any work that involves the risk of a person falling more than
two metres is considered high risk construction work and will require t he PCBU to prepare a safe
work method statement (s.291 and s.299). This requirement applies to all construction work,
3 Source: The State of Queensland (Department of Justice and At torney -General) , as at
http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/industry/construction/high -risk/work -at-heights/index.htm#.Uvjf -
rTWBcc , as on 11 th Febrary, 2014.
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including housing construction.
In the event that a PCBU determines that the only appropriate way of managing the risk of a fall
of two me tres or more is through administrative controls (e.g. signs or training) and the use of
personal protective equipment, the PCBU must describe on the safe work method statement each
of the control measures that were considered in reaching this decision.
Man aging the risk of working at heights
Managing the risk of working at heights is critical. A person conducting a business or undertaking
(PCBU) must manage risks to health and safety associated with falls from one level to another that
are reasonably likely to cause an injury (Part 4.4, section 78 of the Regulation).
Construction work duty holders must also comply with Part 6.3, division 4 of the Regulation, when
determining how to manage risks associated with falls.
If a person can fall more than two metres , a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be
prepared, detailing the hazards, controls, and methods of review and monitoring the hazard.
If the SWMS states that the only control measures will be administrative controls or the provision
of personal protect ive equipment, then it must describe all control measures that have been
considered in determining the actual control measures to implement, and also address the
general fall protection requirements.
The following scenarios highlight the importance of work ing at heights safety measures and the
role of inspectors in enforcing compliance with them.
An inspector observes workers on a housing construction site carrying out re -roofing work at a
height of less than three metres. To control the risk, the PCBU has implemented a travel restraint
system and has ensured workers are trained to work at heights. The inspector has determined that
this method has adequately controlled the risk of a fall. However, the safe work method statement
(SWMS) for the wo rk states that higher order controls, including temporary edge protection, will
An inspector could issue an improvement notice to the PCBU under r300(1) of the Regulation for
failing to comply with the SWMS. A prohibition notice could not be issue d in this scenario as the
workers are using a travel restraint system and therefore not exposed to an immediate or
imminent serious risk.
An inspector observes workers on a housing construction site carrying out small works (installation
of a whirly bird). The workers are at a height that is less than three metres. The SWMS states that
administrative controls (training) will be used to manage the risk to workers and work is being
carried out in accordance with the SWMS.
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An inspector could issue a prohibition notice to stop the work at heights if the inspector has
formed a reasonable belief that workers are exposed to an uncontrolled immediate or imminent
If the SWMS did not address the requirements of r299(4) of the Regulation to d escribe all control
measures considered in determining which control measures to implement where only
administrative controls and personal protective equipment are to be used, the inspector could
also issue an improvement notice under r299(1) of the Regula tion.
An inspector observes workers on a domestic housing construction site carrying out re -roofing
work at a height of less than three metres. Workers are using a work positioning system to control
the risk of a fall (e.g. a secured lanyard and harness), which is in accordance with the SWMS for
If the PCBU is able to provide the inspector with their determination (note: the WHS Act does not
require this to be in writing) as to why the use of fall prevention was not reasonably pract icable,
then the inspector can not issue an enforcement notice. In this scenario there is no requirement
for the determination to be documented.
If the PCBU is unable to provide any determination as to why the use of fall prevention was not
reasonably prac ticable, then the inspector should discuss the relevant regulations, codes of
practice and availability of other reasonably practicable options to control the risks associated with
An inspector will only consider the use of an improvement notice if they form a reasonable belief
that the PCBU is likely to continue or repeat a contravention of the Act.
An inspector observes workers on a housing construction site carrying out small works that have a
short duration (replacing one roof sheet ). The workers are using a travel restraint system that the
inspector has determined is adequately controlling the risk of a fall and the PCBU has determined
that, given the short duration of the task, it is not reasonably practicable to put in place fall
No enforcement action is required by the inspector.
In this scenario, the PCBU has made a determination (also not required to be in writing) about
what control measures are reasonably practicable under the circumstances. Since the risk of a fal l
has been controlled, workers are not exposed to an immediate or imminent serious risk and a
prohibition notice can not be issued.
Provided the PCBU can give the inspector their determination why fall prevention was not
reasonably practicable (the PCBU ha s followed the process in s78 and s79 of the Regulation) then
an improvement notice is not justified.
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An inspector observes a scaffold erection on a housing construction site where the workers
erecting the scaffold are exposed to the risk of a fall of 2.9 metres and no control measures are in
An inspector could issue a prohibition notice to stop the scaffold erection if the inspector has
formed a reasonable belief that workers are exposed to an uncontrolled immediate or imminent
Regulation 306P of the Regulation states that a person must not erect, or allow another person to
erect, scaffolding if a person could fall at least three metres in erecting the scaffolding. Given the
height in this scenario, this section would not apply. However, the general fall provisions (s78 and
s79 of the Regulation) would still apply.
Risk Control Measures
Physical barriers are the preferred method of preventing a person from falling from height.
Examples of physical barriers include:
• edge protection systems
• fall protection covers.
Edge protection systems are barriers erected around the edge of a building, structure or hole.
An edge protection system may consist of guard railing or vertical co ntainment sheeting. Guard
rail systems should be used on the edge of:
• working platforms
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A guard rail should run parallel to the working surface and not be further than 100 mm outside
the edge of the working sur face. The guard rail height should be between 900 mm and 1100 mm
above the working surface.
Guard rails must have mid rails and toe boards. A mid rail is a structural member secured midway
between the guardrail and the working surface. It should run paral lel to the working surface and
be no further than 100 mm outside the edge of the working surface. Alternatively, an infill between
the top rail and the floor may be installed instead of the mid rail.
Both the guard rail and the mid rail should be able to withstand the impact of a person falling
A toe board is a vertical barrier used in conjunction with guard rails and mid rails to prevent a
person or objects from falling under the guard rail. Toe boards may be fully sheeted with timber
They should be secured adjacent to the work surface and extend a minimum of 100 mm above
the work surface. For scaffolds, the toe board must be at least 150 mm above the floor.
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Fall protection covers are a protective structure placed over holes and openings to prevent falls.
All holes and openings through which a person can fall must have fall protection covers in place.
A cover should be capable of supporting the impact of a person falling onto it. Fall protection
covers are usually sheeted with :
• solid sheeting (timber, plywood or metal) or
Holes or openings covered with wire mesh should not be used as a working platform.
All covers should be securely fixed around the hole. Signs should also be attached to the cover to
warn people tha t there is a hole underneath.
For example, metal mesh is spread on top of purlins or battens to provide fall protection for roof
installers from falling between the purlins or battens.
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PERSONAL FALL PROTECTION
Systems of work and equipment that secure a person to a building or structure are known as
personal fall protection.
Personal fall protection systems should be used to minimise the risk of:
• a person falling from a height (travel restraint devices)
• in jury to a person after they have fallen from height (fall -arrest systems).
Personal fall protection may be required to be used in conjunction with other fall protection
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The use of these systems requires appropriate training to ensure the equipment is worn, attached
and used in the correct way.
A travel restraint device prevents a person from reaching an unprotected edge by tethering them
an eye -bolt or other suitable anchorage point. This type of personal fall protection system is
pref erred over those that arrest a person after they have fallen.
Generally, the system consists of a safety belt or harness that is connected by a lanyard to a
anchorage point or static line. The system must be set up to prevent the wearer from reac hing the
Where a temporary roof anchor is used as an anchorage for a travel restraint system, it must be
installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s or designer’s instructions. The roof or other
building component to which an anchor will be atta ched must be checked by a competent person
to verify that it is suitable for supporting the anchor. The anchorage points must be capable of
taking the load. Refer to AS/NZS 1891.2 Industrial fall -arrest systems and devices - Horizontal
lifeline and rail sy stems for the anchorage force required. It is preferable that travel restraint
systems are used in conjunction with other fall prevention methods, such as guardrails, safety nets
and catch platforms.
Fall Arrest System
A fall -arrest system is designed to arrest the fall of a person.
The following points describe the different components of a fall -arrest system:
• A fall -arrest harness is an assembly of interconnected shoulder and leg straps, with or without a
body belt designed to spread the load over the body and to prevent the wearer from falling out
of the assembly.
• A lanyard is a line used, usually as part of a lanyard assembly, to connect a fall -arrest harness to
anchorage point or static line.
• A lanyard assembly consists of a lanyard and a per sonal energy absorber.
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• The lanyard assembly should be as short as practicable and the working slack length not more
2 m under a free fall condition.
Types of fall -arrest systems:
• Where there is a risk of a free fall up to 2 m, a fall -arrest har ness connected to a lanyard
and attached to a fall -arrest static line or an anchorage point
• Where there is a risk of a free fall of not more than 600 mm, a ladder belt connected to a
lanyard of not more than 300 mm in length attached to a ladder fall -arrest device.
An important factor in the safe use of a fall -arrest system is to reduce the free fall distance as far
possible. Correctly installed fall -arrest equipment will only safely arrest a fall if there are no
obstructions in the fall path. The longer the free fall distance, the greater the risk of the person
Before a fall -arrest system is u sed, the work area should be inspected to ensure there are no
obstructions in the potential fall path. Any obstruction should be removed from the fall path area.
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In the event of a person falling, immediate action should be taken to retrieve the person.
Fal l-arrest harnesses, lanyards and static lines provide a satisfactory degree of fall protection
provided the following points are taken into account:
• Persons should be properly trained and supervised in the use of the equipment.
• Persons using fall prote ction such as a fall -arrest harness, should not work in isolation.
• A lanyard assembly should be as short as possible and the working slack length not more than 2
when used in conjunction with a fall -arrest system to minimise the pendulum effect (belayi ng).
• The fall -arrest anchorage point (fixed or travelling on static lines) must be located so that the
lanyard can be attached before the user moves into a position where he or she would be at risk
from a fall. Anchorage points should have a capacity of 15 kN.
• The components of a fall -arrest system should be compatible. The use of non -compatible
components could lead to ineffective equipment that presents a risk of injury from falling to the
person using the equipment.
A work positioning harness may be used with a short lanyard to restrict free fall to less than 600
Refer to AS 1891.4 Industrial fall -arrest systems and devices – Selection, use and maintenance for
the selection of an appropriate fall -arrest system.
(Note: Any fall -arrest system must be installed by a certified person and in accordance with
AS/NZS1891 Industrial fall -arrest systems and devices – Fall -arrest systems.)
Catch platform and safety nets should only be used where it is not possible to provide any more
reliable means of fall protection. For example, the erection of physical barriers or personal
A catch platform is a temporary platform located below a work area to catch a person after they
have fallen. It should be of robust construction and designed for th e potential impact of the load.
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A safety net must be installed as close as possible to the underside of the work area, but not in
contact with the surface. The safety net must cover an area extending beyond the work area.
Footwear that minimises the risk of slipping should be worn when working where there is a risk of
falls from heights. Consideration should be given to the surface being worked on. For example, a
surface slippery from wet condi tions.
A safety helmet should be attached securely to the person’s head so that it remains in place
should the person be arrested by fall protection equipment during a fall.
Personal Protective Equipment
It is essential that trainees wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and
adjust it correctly for specific tasks. Following you will find a few items that constitute PPE
x Provides head protection;
x Do not drill, paint or adhere stickers, as this will render the helmet
x All helmets must be replaced after 3 years from date of
x If chipped, cracked or after receiving a solid knock from a falling
x Provides eye protection.
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x Provides hearing protection;
x Hearing protection must be worn in designated/signpost, high
x Excessive noise is considered to be 85 dB or above;
x Noise levels above 105 dB require the wearing of earmuffs or a
combination of earplugs and muffs helmet fitting or wrap around.
x Provide protection to the hands;
x Select the correct gloves for the job you are undertaking;
x Canvas and leather gloves are acceptable for working with dirt
grime and sharp objects;
x Check the MSDS for the correct type of glove to wear when
handling liquid chemicals;
x Never wear gloves when using pedestal and bench grinders.
x Provide body protection;
x Must be close fitting and have reflective tape on front, back
and sides to make the wearer more visible for the drivers of
x Do not modify clothing by cutting off sleeves etc.
x Provides foot protection;
x Boots must be fitted with toe cap protection and have high
traction soles that are resistant to acids, oil, caustic and heat;
x Boots with splits, exposed toecaps and missing laces are
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PPE must be worn to your site requirements or where signs.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SITE REQ UIREMENTS FOR PERSONNEL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Work platforms provide a permanent or temporary surface for people to carry out work.
The platform should be secured against a structure for stability and be installed with an edge
protection system. The surface of the working platform should be of a size and strength to safely
support the tools, materials and people who may be working on it. The surface should be non -
slip, free from trip h azards and traps and of an easily negotiable gradient. Safe access and egress
must be provided to the work platform.
The appropriate reference standards for a fixed platform are:
• AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders - Design, constru ction and installation
and for temporary platforms
• AS/NZS 1576 Scaffolding
• AS 4576 Guidelines for scaffolding.
ELEVATING WORK PLATFORM
Elevating work platforms (EWPs) are available in a variety of types and sizes for most work
They are generally of the boom type, scissor lifts and vertical mast. The use of EWPs should be
guided by AS 2550.10 Cranes -Safe Use -Elevating work platform.
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Operators working on a boom type EWP must wear a safety harness. The harness must arrest the
before the user strikes the ground.
(Note: The requirement for wearing safety harnesses apply to the boom and mast type EWP.
Refer AS 2550.10. For scissor lifts, wearing of safety harnesses is generally not required, but
should be subject to risk assess ment.)
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For boom type EWPs where the boom length is 11 m or more, the operator must hold an OHS
Certificate of Competency.
ORDER PICKING FORKLIFT TRUCKS
Order picking forklift trucks are the preferred method of personal access and handling of materials
where stock picking is required.
This plant is designed for use on flat level surfaces and must not be used on rough terrain. They
common in warehouses where stock picking is required.
Any work carried out on a forklift truck in an elevated position i ncreases the risk of fall from height.
• the stability of the forklift truck is reduced
• the vision of the operator may be obscured, e.g. from surrounding shelving.
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Depending on the situation, a safety harness may be required to reduce the risk of a fall from
Scaffolds are erected to provide a temporary work platform for undertaking a variety of tasks.
Working platforms on scaffolds are generally rated as light, medium or heavy duty.
• Light duty – up to 225 kg per bay. Th is is suitable for plastering, painting, electrical work and
• Medium duty – up to 450 kg per bay. This is suitable for general trades work, e.g. building
• Heavy duty – up to 675 kg per bay. This is required while performin g bricklaying, concreting,
demolition work and most other work involving heavy loads.
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Any scaffold from which a person could fall more than 4 m must be erected by a certified
FORKLIFT WORK PLATFORMS
These are used to elevate personnel for va rious working activities, using the lifting ability of a
forklift or similar industrial truck. A work platform is specially designed for mounting on the
elevating device of a high lift fork -truck for the purpose of providing a safe working place for
Many serious accidents and injuries occur when people fail to use a correctly designed work
platform, or if they use it in an inappropriate manner. These occur either from falls or being
trapped by moving parts of the forklift elevating system. Standi ng on the forklift tynes, on pallets
or in unsuitable stillages, are common causes of falls from height.
Design and construction of working platforms must be manufactured in accordance with AS 2359
Powered industrial trucks and the safe work procedures mu st also comply with this Standard and
• Work platforms must be provided with duplicate, independent locks to securely attach the
platform to the forklift and be clearly visible to personnel in the platform.
• The work platform must be designed only to be located on the forklift in the correct position.
• Work platforms must have a slip resistant floor surface not larger than 1200 mm x 1200 mm, with
100 mm high toeboards on all sides.
• The front and sides must have guard rails at least 900 mm high with a back guard 2000 mm
with a mesh infill barrier to prevent access to any moving parts of the forklift lifting mechanism.
• The self -closing access gate must be sliding or inward opening, and be securely fastened while
• A warning notice visible to personnel in the work platform must be attached to identify the load
weight limit and the two person load limit.
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SAFE USE OF WORK PLATFORMS
• Forklift operators must be assessed as competent by a registered assessor or have proo f of
• The work platform must be secured to the forklift.
• The operator of the forklift must remain seated at the controls of the forklift at all times while
personnel are elevated in the work platform.
• No more than two people at on ce are to be lifted in a work platform.
• Personnel must remain in the work platform during raising or lowering and must not be moved
from place to place other than for small positional adjustments.
• The load capacity of the platform must not exceed 250 k g. Unless the type and design of the
forklift is manufactured in accordance with AS 2359 Powered industrial trucks and the appropriate
hazard identification and risk assessment has been done.
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INDUSTRIAL ROPE ACCESS SYSTEM
An industrial rope access sys tem is a twin rope system used to provide access to a work area. A
positioning harness or seat is attached to one rope and a fall -arrest harness is attached to the
rope. The system should be used in accordance with the designer’s and/or the manu facturer’s
Ladders should be designed in accordance with:
• AS 1892.1 Portable ladders Part 1 - Metal
• AS 1892.2 Portable ladders Part 2 - Timber
• AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders - Design, construction and installation.
Portable ladders must be rated at not less than 120 kg capacity, and be marked ‘industrial’.
Portable step -ladders should:
• not be used on working platforms to gain height above the protected edge, for example next to
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floors with penetrations or the edge of the floor
• only be used in the fully -opened position
• be of a length that ensures a person’s feet are not positioned any higher than the second top
Portable single and extension ladders should be:
• pitched at a slope o f 1 horizontal to 4 vertical
• extend 900 mm above the last surface where a person can gain access and should not be used:
- in access areas or within the arc of swinging doors
- on working platforms to gain height above the protected edge
- to support a w ork platform.
If a series of ladders are used to gain access to an elevated work position, landing platforms
should be provided at every 6 m interval. The ladder should be secured against movement and
supported from a firm, level, non -slip surface.
Fall -arrest systems should be used by persons using a ladder as a working surface.
Portable trestle ladders should only be used when carrying out light work, e.g. painting and
should only be used in the fully opened position. Trestle ladders should not be used where a
person can fall 4 m or more.
Fixed ladders are vertical or near vertical ladders fixed to a structure. Rung ladders should have
ladder cages or persons using the ladder should use fall -arrest systems. A ladder cage or fall -
arrest system must be pr ovided if a person can fall more than 6 m.
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Lighting at the workplace should be not less than:
• 200 lux for a working area
• 50 lux for stairs or other areas providing access to a working area.
Materials, tools and equipment on working platforms should be stored so as to leave at least 450
mm clear access.
Exposure to the weather should be given consideration when establishing the area for an access
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For example, rain may make surfaces slippery or strong winds may cause loss of balance.
Warning signs should be erected to warn persons of the risk of falling from a height. The signs
be positioned where they will be clearly visible to pe rsons working in the area.
WORKING ON FRAGILE ROOFING
The OHSW Act and Regulations provide for specific safety measures to be taken when working on
Signs must be fixed to the walls of buildings where access can be made to fragile roofs. These
should be made of sheet metal or other approved material that is at least 600 mm by 450 mm
wording and layout as shown.
Ensure that people who are required to work on fragile roofing are aware of the dangers of
standing or treading on unprotected fragile roofing.
Any person required to be on a roof covered with fragile roofing materials must use the walkways
and crawl boards provided. Serious accidents and fatalities have occurred where workers have
been misled by the appea rance of roof coverings that appear more solid than they are. This is
most likely to occur if the roof is discoloured with age, by weathering or from being painted.
This false sense of security may be reinforced by the fact that the roof takes a substanti al
load, and therefore gives the impression that it will bear the weight of a worker. However, a
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concentrated load such as that applied by the heel of a person walking or by a person stumbling
falling, and the weight of the tools and equipm ent a worker may carry must also be taken into
Fragile roofing materials fracture without warning, leaving jagged edges that can cause injury,
though wire mesh may be fitted. Experience has shown breakages occur so rapidly that a person
fall ing through fragile roofing materials such as asbestos cement sheeting have no opportunity to
If you are unsure whether safety mesh is fitted, then consider the roof as unmeshed and
Walking is not permitted on fragile roofing unless crawl boards or grids are used.
Alternatively, planks should be laid across the full pitch of the roof and in the box gutters to
provide lengthwise access. Suitable footwear must be worn when working on or near fragile roofs
to avoid slippi ng.
EXAMPLES OF WORK PRACTICES THAT CAN CAUSE A PERSON TO FALL:
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• Work being done on or near fragile surfaces such as skylights, badly rusted corrugated iron or
fibreglass roofs, with no guarding, safety mesh, catch platforms, or alternative fall protect ion
measures in place.
• Boom -type elevating work platforms such as cherry pickers, travel towers, boom lifts etc being
used with no secure line and safety harness in place connecting the worker to the basket to
reduce the risk of a fall from the basket.
• Maintenance work such as gutter clearing, painting or roof restoration being done from a roof
when there is no guarding or fall protection measures used.
• Work being done from the bucket on a front end loader or tractor or from a pallet lifted by a
• No guarding, railing or signage around holes, pits or shafts.
• Unsecured, loose or incomplete scaffolds or railing in a place near to where workers are working
or likely to work in the near future.
• Truck tarps being fitted by climbing across a l oad with no fall prevention measures being used.
• Working from the top of livestock carriers without any fall prevention measures such as guard
• Where ropes, harnesses and lanyards are being used for fall protection, the equipment is not
checked r egularly and before use. The equipment shows evidence of either rust, decay, cracks,
knots, frays or a combination of these. The equipment used in the system is not designed for the
job. Anchorage points used are inadequate in terms of location, strength a nd with no regard for
effect of a fall, e.g. no regard for the pendulum effect if someone falls.
• Ladders are being set up on slippery or uneven surfaces and not secured to prevent them
slipping forwards, backwards or sideways.
The examples above do not cover all situations or work practices that could result in a fall. It is
important to always carry out a risk assessment prior to performing any work at height.
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Maintenance of Plant, Equipment and Structures
Maintenance and repair programs should be reviewed regularly to ensure their
effectiveness. Performance testing and evaluation standards should be established.
Incorporating the manufacturer’s recommendations, repair and maintena
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