Over the past 3 years more than 300,000 workers have been injured on NSW job sites. Of this number 11,000 were permanently disabled and a staggering 239 died.
These alarming statistics are from WorkCover NSW website and with the amount of safety equipment available from a growing number of suppliers in Australia, it is astonishing that this is possible.
In Australia, we have some of the toughest standards in the world, we have a national safety body and every state and territory has its own safety bodies. Each of the safety bodies have industry Codes of Practice on virtually all jobs and many of these codes of practice call up relevant Australian Standards.
Managing the risk of falls in the workplace seems to be an issue, as currently there are several manufacturers claiming their products are fit for purpose.
BEING FIT FOR PURPOSE DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO MEETING THE AUSTRALIAN STANDARD REQUIREMENTS.
WorkCover NSW has produced a document titled “Managing the risk of falls at workplace code of practice” which was published in July 2015. This document is anapproved code of practice under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act). This code of practice gives the reader essential information on items including their duties, meaning of terms, what is required etc. In many of these chapters the code refers to the Australian set of standards AS/NZS1891. In chapter 6 the second paragraph states: “All equipment used for fall-arrest should be designed, manufactured, selected and used in compliance with AS1891 series of standards”.
“AS/NZS1891.4:2009 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices Part 4: Selection, use and maintenance” needs to be read to fully understand the complexities of selecting appropriate height safety equipment. This standard has been written by a large group of people from many different industries and organisations. The stake holders have included anchoragestrengths, fall clearances and fall types so that the end user can select equipment that is appropriate to their unique circumstances.
Unfortunately, as we live in a global community there is a large amount of equipment currently on job sites throughout Australia that does not meet our stringent safety requirements. The code of practice references AS1891 which has the following anchor strength requirements:
- Limited free fall, limited free fall-arrest for 1 person 12kN
- Limited free fall, limited free fall-arrest for 2 persons 18kN
- Free fall, free fall-arrest 1 person 15kN
- Free fall, free fall arrest 2 persons 21kN
To ensure that height safety davits and tripods meet the Australian standards requirements AS/NZS 5532:2013 “Manufacturing requirements for single-point anchor device used for harness-based work at height” was developed. This standard gives clear guide lines on the application of dynamic and static loads to demonstrate compliance with strength requirements.
Beaver Technology Services (BTS) have designed and installed several bespoke testing rigs in their NATA accredited testing laboratory. This allows a wide variety of Height Safety devices to be tested in accordance with Australian Standards.
After development and during certification, BTS also employs the services of a 3rd party Mechanical Engineer to witness all tests. Having an independent engineer witness the tests ensures that no misinterpretation of test results occur.
For our products to be used on job sites in Queensland, there is a state requirement that a Queensland Registered Mechanical Engineer must sign off on the product before it can be used on site.
Most companies in Australia will give you a verbal confirmation that their product is compliant, whilst BTS will supply a “Certificate of Conformance” based on in house NATA testing witnessed by an independent Queensland registered Mechanical Engineer.
Stopping accidents begins with hazard identification, awareness and training. By following Industry Codes of Practice and ensuring your equipment meets the requirements of Australian Standards you will help to lower the number of accidents on your job site.
EXAMPLES OF BTS TESTING PRIOR TO RELEASE INTO WORKPLACES:
Our aim is to ensure that people leave the workplace in the same condition that they arrived in.
THINK SAFE, THINK BTS PRODUCT SOLUTIONS!