Sydney’s height safety experts here. Today we’d like to talk about fall arrest systems, a key component of safe work at heights, and address just why they are so important.
Health and safety regulations in Australia specify strict stipulations about when fall arrest systems must be used in the work environment. Businesses who are completing projects at heights or in risky, confined spaces, need to have adequate fall protection measures in place to protect their workers and others. Even quick tasks demand the proper equipment and fall arrest elements. Without the right systems, safety is compromised and the potential for injury increases.
Do I Need a Fall Arrest System?
Some tasks that require height safety attention are more obvious than others. Building maintenance on the exterior of a high rise comes with an apparent fall risk. In these situations, the need for thorough fall arrest systems is quite understandable. But what about those less circumstances that are less clear? If your staff is going to be removing a banner from a high point inside your office, do you really need a total fall arrest system setup? After all, it’s only going to take 5 minutes, and it’s inside.
Wrong. There’s more to consider.
If there’s a potential for a fall of a certain distance or greater, you’re going to need to put the proper safety measures in place to keep your team 100% safe, even if the task seems “quick” or “easy.” Unfortunately, companies too often forego fall protection or choose systems which are insufficient or don’t meet legal standards. Safe Work Australia has a great guide for managing fall risks in the workplace that can help you identify fall hazards and assist you in better understanding the importance of fall arrest systems. But of course, when in doubt, always seek professional advice. Abseilers United offer height safety consulting and audits to aid you in achieving best practices and full compliance with .
Proper, Compliant Fall Arrest Systems
Fall arrest systems are designed to do exactly what their name indicates: to arrest—or stop—falls. The three major components of fall arrest are the anchor point, harness, and the connecting device. Though all three must work in tandem to assure safety, the anchor point
may be the most essential. Anchor points are affixed to a point of stability—typically the building or structure on which work is being performed. These points reduce the load of the attached person and their equipment, minimising strain on the structure itself. But even more importantly, should a person begin to fall, the anchor point absorbs their weight and stops the fall almost immediately. This helps avoid a potentially catastrophic fall.
Anchor points must work together with a high quality connecting device and a correctly worn, properly fitted harness. A proper fall arrest system includes checking the condition of these elements so that each can do its job perfectly. Ongoing fall arrest systems maintenance is crucial for preserving the integrity of equipment. Your systems must undergo legal recertification yearly, and inspections should be completed every three months. In addition, only those fully qualified to complete work at heights should use the equipment. This helps reduce the chances of undue wear and tear or improper usage. As always, safety is the #1 goal.
Need to get your fall safety protections in place? Abseilers United is the right team to assist you, and we can also provide a comprehensive height safety audit if you need to check out your current systems. Get in touch today with Sydney’s height safety pros.