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Working at heights presents certain dangers, including the risk of injury or fatality from falling. When workers need to work at heights, training may be necessary. Here is a closer look at WHS regulations for working at heights, including training requirements and employer responsibilities.
What Is Working at Heights?
Working at heights refers to work activities completed off the ground. These activities typically occur in the construction industry. House construction and general construction often require workers to work from heights on scaffolding or other types of elevated platforms.
The risk of falling is the main threat to working from heights. Between 2015 and 2019, falls accounted for 13% of all worker fatalities in Australia. Working from heights training can help workers address the dangers.
Working at Height Training
RIIWHS204E Work Safely at Heights is the unit of competency that deals with working at heights. It covers the skills and knowledge needed to work safely at heights. The main topics in the training program include:
- Identifying work requirements
- Inspecting the worksite
- Adhering to legislative requirements
- Selecting the right equipment and tools
- Selecting personal protective equipment
- Accessing and installing equipment
- Performing work at heights
Along with working at heights training, labourers may need to complete related training courses. For example, individuals in the construction industry also require white card training (construction induction training) before they can work on a construction site. Some situations may also call for confined space training.
At What Height Do You Need a Working at Heights Ticket?
Employers may choose to enrol workers in working at heights training, no matter the height of the work activity. Safety training courses are not required but cover the steps needed to maintain compliance with WHS regulations. RIIWHS204E continues to be the industry standard for workers in the construction industry that work at heights.
A “working at heights” ticket was previously needed before engaging in any work with a potential fall of more than two metres. However, the WHS regulations were revised. Instead of requiring a specific training program, WHS laws require following specific best practices.
Everyone has specific duties under the model WHS Act. A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) needs to manage the risks of falls, which includes completing a risk assessment. Work from heights of two metres or higher also requires the PCBU to implement risk control measures.
Risk Control Measures
Risk control measures may be necessary when working on elevated work platforms, such as scaffolding. Employers are often encouraged to follow the hierarchy of control measures:
- Engineering Controls
- Administrative Controls
- Safety Equipment
Employers should first try to eliminate or substitute work that involves hazards. If this is not an option, they should implement engineering and administrative controls to minimise risks and hazards. Safety equipment, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), is used as a last resort.
How Long Is Working at Heights Ticket Valid For?
After completing the training course, the registered training organisation (RTO) issues a statement of attainment. The statement of attainment does not technically expire. However, the industry standard is to take a refresher course every two years.
The initial training is completed face-to-face. Training takes about one full day. Training facilities such as AlertForce also offer online refresher training for your convenience.
At What Height Is Fall Protection Required in Australia?
Fall protection and additional safety measures are needed to protect against falls from any height. However, work with a risk of falls of more than two metres is considered “high risk” work. Under WHS regulations, high-risk work requires a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS). The SWMS outlines work activities and the control measures used to help protect workers.
Employers must take steps to help safeguard against the risk of falls. If possible, work should be completed at ground level or on solid construction. When working from heights is necessary, employers should implement a fall prevention device, such as a barrier or scaffolding.
When a barrier, scaffolding, or elevated work platform is not possible, a work positioning system may be used. For example, you may use rope access systems to secure workers. If a fall prevention device or work positioning system is not possible, employers need to use a fall arrest system, such as a safety net.
Work from height training is commonly required by supervisors in the construction industry. It also helps ensure compliance with WHS regulations, which require specific risk control measures for working from heights. Training covers the risk control recommendations, including the use of protective equipment.
AlertForce offers RIIWHS204E (Work Safely at Heights) training, including online refresher training. If you need help exploring training options, contact AlertForce today.
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