How good is your height safety knowledge? With rooftop safety, out of sight often becomes out of mind. Myths and misconceptions develop, and that leads to poor decision-making. Are you guilty of any of these?
- “It’s not my responsibility”
Whether you’re a building owner, subcontractor or designer, height safety is everyone’s responsibility. Morally and legally, you have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment – especially at height where the risks are great. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the boss or you simply know that a worker is entering an area that’s not entirely safe – it’s still up to you. For architects, engineers and those designing new buildings, providing a safe workplace is compulsory under legislation. And you should never assume that workers are trained – always check and provide training on height safety systems if necessary.
- Height safety is just about providing safe roof access
It goes much further than that. It’s also about providing fall protection for personnel working near a roof edge, or where a roof pitch is over 15 degrees. Not to mention confined spaces, which often require a rescue system. For example, water reservoirs may have internal access at significant heights – what happens if a worker collapses on the job and needs medical attention?
- We’ve already got a height safety system
But how recently has it been maintained and recertified? For many height systems such as anchor points, this process is required annually. And Australian Standards change – for example, recent changes to requirements for roof ladder rung spacings have rendered some equipment non-compliant.
- It’s not worth it when we hardly ever access the roof
With height comes risk. When you’re dealing with people’s lives, it’s worth it. Sometimes building owners consider hiring a boom lift as an alternative to height safety systems, but this is a recurring cost and hassle, whereas roof anchor points provide long-term coverage.
- Cheaper is better
Safety equipment isn’t an area where you want to cut corners. We’ve seen roof anchor points spaced incorrectly to save money, but with that you compromise compliance. When choosing a supplier, look for someone who genuinely has employee contractor and safety at heart, and will go beyond ticking compliance boxes to provide a system that’s practical and prevents falls.