What you need to know about AS1657: 2018

The Fall Prevention Safety Standard that addresses the design, construction and installation of fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders has been updated.

AS1657: 2018 addresses some of the issues found in AS1657: 2013; with all changes applicable now.

Standards Australia have reassured the industry that the bulk of the Standard is not affected by the revision. However, it is important to note where changes have been made.

The updated Standard clarifies several clauses and expands on some of the terms used making it easier for industry professionals to read and reference.

Key changes

  1. Clarification regarding ambiguous wording
    Definitions have been given for the word ‘level’ to remove ambiguity.
    Definitions for ladder flight and landings have been revised to replace the word ‘level’ where applicable.
  1. Changes to the layout and figures within specification documentation
    Figure 5.4(b) now aligns with the text of the clause relating to rectangular handrails.
    Clause 7.3.6(a) on landings is accompanied by a new figure that helps clarify the length of the landing.
    Figure 7.5 regarding the minimum length of a landing and figure 7.9 showing the typical ladder cage dimensions has been revised to align with the text of the relevant clauses.
  1. Clauses covering the dimensions of guardrails and use of toeboards have been revised
    An overview of the requirements:
  • A top rail parallel to the floor or on a slope that is parallel to the angle of the walkway needs to be supported by posts at intervals that meet the guidelines for the proposed use.
  • Intermediate rails placed in parallel with the top rail need to be spaced so that the maximum space between them does not exceed 450mm.
  • A toeboard system is required if there is no permanent structure within 10mm of the edge of a walkway or if an object could fall to an area accessed by personnel.
  • Where a toeboard system is not required, the maximum clear space between the lowest rail and the base level is not to exceed 560mm.

This Fall Prevention Standard is used extensively to ensure that operating, inspection, maintenance and servicing personnel who are required to work at heights are granted safe access. The updates are relatively minor however they will certainly provide clarity where AS1657: 2013 was confusing or ambiguous.

Anchor Safe would like to reassure customers that we have considered all points in the revised Standard documentation to ensure that we continue to offer industry services that keep workers safe and comply with Australian Standards.