Fall prevention devices are pieces of equipment designed to prevent falls for temporary work at heights, and once in place require no further adjustments by workers that use those devices.
Temporary work platforms are working platforms besides permanently installed fixed platforms that are used for providing a working area for the job’s duration.
The platform’s design ensures that workers don’t fall.
Temporary work platforms include building maintenance units, elevating work platforms, scaffolds, workboxes, mast climbers, mobile or portable fabricated platforms or any other platforms that provide a working area and are designed to include fall prevention mechanisms.
Scaffolding can be a highly effective way to prevent falls, but under the WHS Regulations, there are specific requirements applying to some types of scaffolding.
A person that has control or management of a scaffold should not permit the use of a scaffold from which an object or person may fall more than 4 metres unless written confirmation provided by a competent person is completed.
The person is also required to make sure that:
Scaffolding work platforms are usually rated as heavy-duty, medium, or light. The safety considerations include:
If work is performed from a scaffold, measures must be taken to make sure that relevant workers understand:
If mobile scaffolds are used to perform work, workers must receive proper training to make sure that the scaffold:
Suspended scaffolds are those that incorporate a suspended platform capable of being lowered and raised when in use.
The common types of suspended scaffolds include:
Swing stages have several specific safety considerations, which include:
The Scaffolding Code of Practice provides further guidance on the safe design erection, as well as the use of scaffolding, which includes suspended scaffolding.
Travel towers, boom lifts, cherry pickers, and scissor lifts are all Elevating Work Platforms.
The two most common types of EWPs are internal combustion engine and battery-powered.
Some are designed exclusively for hard surfaces while others are designed for use in rough terrain.
Safety considerations include:
The mast climbing work platforms are essentially hoists that have a working platform used for raising materials and workers to a temporary working position.
The platforms use a drive system that’s mounted on an extendable mast that might have to be tied to a building under the circumstances the manufacturer prescribes.
Mast climbing work platforms can be set up in either multi-mast or single-mast configurations.
They are generally less than ideal for use if a structure’s profile changes at various elevations (for instance, if balconies protrude from the building or a building’s upper floors ‘step’ back).
Only a person holding an appropriate scaffolding or rigging license should carry out or directly supervise the erection and dismantling of mast climbing work platforms.
Workboxes are designed to be supported by a hoist, crane, forklift truck or other mechanical devices for providing an elevated work area for people working from the box.
They comprise of platforms surrounded by edge protection mechanism and must be designed in accordance with AS 1418.17.
Other working platforms, such as a scaffold or elevated working platform should be used as an alternative to workboxes where reasonably practicable.
The safety considerations and requirements include:
A forklift that’s fitted with a workbox should be attached securely to the forklift carriage and designed and constructed by an engineer in accordance with AS 2359.
The safety considerations include:
Building designers should take into account the methods by which repairs, maintenance, or cleaning will be undertaken on structures or buildings.
A building maintenance unit is a suspended working platform that’s power-operated and fixed permanently to a structure or building. It is used for access to windows for cleaning or building maintenance.
The safety considerations include:
Trestle ladder scaffolds are only suitable for use at heights greater than 2 metres when toe boards and guardrails have been incorporated to prevent materials and people from falling off the working platform.
The system, which includes planks, should be assembled according to the specifications of the manufacturer with a complete set of compatible components.
Trestle ladder scaffolds sometimes include outriggers for increasing stability.
Trestle ladder scaffolds are best suited to light-duty tasks like rendering and painting. Work should only be done between trestles.
450mm should be the minimum width of the working platform.
Trestle alternatives should be considered, such as light-duty aluminium scaffolds, mobile scaffolds, small scissor lifts, modular scaffolding, and boom arms.
Guard rails can be an effective fall prevention mechanism:
Guard rails should include a top rail 0.9 to 1.1 metres above the working surface as well as toe board and mid-rail.
Prior to using the guard rail system, it is important to check that it will be sufficient for the potential loads.
The momentum of a falling person determines the load resistance that’s required.
For instance, the momentum of a person falling from a pitched roof is likely to increase as the roof’s pitch (angle) increases.
The safety mesh is for preventing internal falls through a roof.
A safety mesh that securely fixed should provide protection for people that install roofs and provides long-term protection against falls for repair and maintenance workers.
Safety mesh doesn’t prevent falls from roof edges or through holes in roofs, which is why it should always be used together with appropriate edge protection, fall arrest systems, or guard rails.
Safety mesh should be in compliance with AS/NZS 4389 that specifies the minimum requirements for the design, installation, testing, and construction or safety mesh to be used in industrial and commercial building applications.
The safety mesh should be made from 2mm diameter wire with a tensile strength of at least 450 MPa and welded into a mesh where the longitudinal wires are 150 mm apart at most and the cross wires 300 mm apart at most.
It should be installed according to the instructions from the manufacturer and by a competent person, who should be protected against the risk of falling through the use of proper control measures such as fall-arrest systems, elevating work platforms, or scaffolding.
Special care is needed to make sure that the safety mesh is connected securely to the structure and that the overlap between adjacent sections of the mesh is enough to generate the strength required to resist the force of a person that falls onto it.
The safety mesh should also be covered by roof cladding once it is reasonably practicable after installation.
If you are looking for knowledgeable and experienced scaffolders, who have leading-hands that work together with you and offer expert advice, please contact us at Skelscaff today on 1300 266 607 or email us at email@example.com.