This guide gives both employers and employees practical advice on work at height and falling objects, and how to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm or damage occurring. It will assist you in identifying activities in your workplace that involve work at height or where there is a risk of objects falling.

Examples where there is a risk of injury from falling objects include:

  • a hole or gap in the safety mesh, allowing material to fall through.
  • a gap between the top of the roof cladding and the bottom of a toe-board or infill panel.
  • working from elevated structures such as working platforms, ladders or scaffolding.

What do I have to do as an employer?

  • All activities involving work at height have to be risk assessed and control measures have to be put in place so that work at height is avoided whenever possible, e.g. can windows be cleaned using an extendable pole while staying on the ground instead of climbing a ladder?
  • The risk of falling is minimised where work at height is unavoidable, e.g. make sure there is a parapet or double handrail around a work area at height or use suitable work equipment.
  • Where falls cannot be prevented, suitable work equipment is used to minimise the distance someone could fall and the consequences of the fall, e.g. safety nets, bean bags.
  • All work at height is properly planned, organised, supervised and carried out.
  • The place where work at height is done is safe, and employees can get to that place safely, taking account of weather conditions if the place is outdoors.
  • Employees involved in work at height are instructed and trained, e.g. in the safe use, storage and maintenance of appropriate personal protective equipment such as safety harnesses.
  • Equipment for work at height is inspected and records are kept.
  • The risks from fragile surfaces and falling objects are controlled.

What do employees have to do?

Employees also have responsibilities in relation to
preventing accidents including:

  • Protecting their own health and safety and that of anyone who may be affected by what they do or don’t do.
  • Co-operating with their employer in relation to carrying out work at height safely.
  • Not being under the influence of any intoxicant to the extent that they could be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Not engaging in any improper conduct or behaviour that could endanger themselves or others.
  • Participating in health and safety training.
  • Making proper use of all equipment and machinery, including personal protective equipment, provided and not misusing same.
  • Reporting any defects in the place of work, equipment, etc.

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Certification of your height safety system and testing of your anchor points to ensure compliance with relevant Australian standards.

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