At what height do you need to wear a harness in Australia?
There are different types of harnesses and fall arrest devices that exist and it is crucial to find the system that best suits your project. The type of harness required for your project will largely depend on your premises, the fall hazards and the nature of the work at the environment in which it is being carried out.
Similarly another method of choosing the right harness and fall arrest equipment is to follow four easy steps created by Height Tech Safety Australia. These steps are the ABCD that is Anchorage; Body Support; Connectors and Descent/Rescue of fall protection. The exact steps can be found here or below:
The ABCD of fall protection
A – Anchorage. Anchorage provides a secure point of attachment (to an existing structure) for the fall arrest system. Anchorage devices can be permanent or temporary and vary to suit the type of structure available.
B – Body Support. Full body harnesses connect the worker to the fall arrest system. They are specially designed
to protect the worker against serious injury in the event of a fall whilst also remaining comfortable to wear. Use only a Standards approved full body harness that is within service, inspected prior to use and correctly
fitted and adjusted.
C – Connectors. Connectors are devices that connect the full body harness to the anchorage system. They can
be single products or multiple devices working together. This can be a shock absorbing lanyard with a maximum working slack of two metres or a self-retracting lifeline (SRL).
D – Descent/Rescue. Descent and rescue systems enable the retrieval of an injured or incapacitated worker. In the event of a rescue, this equipment facilitates rapid recovery of the worker without endangering other
workers in the process. Height safety compliance in Australia
Fitting Your Harness Correctly
Harnesses are available in primarily two styles:
• Parachute style (vest style). A Vest type harness is put on like a jacket.
• Crossover (cross-chest). A crossover harness is put on over the head, similar to putting on a jumper.
Regardless of the style, it is one thing to ensure you are wearing a harness at heights, but another to correctly
fit your harness so that it can do the job it is designed for.
Correctly fitted means both ensuring it is the right size for the individual as well as ensuring it is worn and adjusted correctly. An incorrectly fitted harness changes the force distribution and can cause significant injury and potentially lead to death at the Moment of Impact (MOI). Ranger Lifting recommends following harness manufacturer fitting guidelines as well as consulting a member of our team if you have further questions.
Harness Compliance in Australia
Standards Australia in collaboration with Working At Height Association (WAHA) governs height safety practices. According to Standards Australia regulations and legislation, all safety equipment that is used at height has to be inspected, tested and re-certified every six to twelve months to verify that it is safe to use and is compliant with standards.
This is found in the following Standards & Industry Codes:
AS1657:2018 Fixed Platforms, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders
AS/NZS 1891.1 Part 1: Safety Belts and Harnesses
AS/NZS 1891.2 Part 2: Horizontal Lifeline and Rail Systems
AS/NZS 1891:3 Part 3: Fall Arrest Devices
AS/NZS 1891.4 Part 4: Selection, Use and Maintenance of Industrial Fall Arrest Systems and Devices
AS2625 Safe Working in a Confined Space
AS/NZS 4488 Industrial Rope Access Systems
AS/NZS 5532 Manufacturers requirements for single point anchors
Concerned about your harness?
If you or any worker within the lifting and rigging industry has concerns about the safety of their workplace harness, they must stop work immediately and report the issue to a supervisor, OHS representative or a union representative. It is illegal for an employer to force an employee to continue working in unsafe conditions. An employer has a duty of care for the safety of employees under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. There are severe penalties for non-compliance.
So, to summarise if you have concerns about workplace height safety, you should stop work immediately and seek expert height safety advice from the Ranger team at 1300SLINGS.