Appendix E within the updated industrial fall arrest standard AS/NZS 1891.4 2009 outlines a number of sample roles associated with working at height that may require specific key competencies. These include:
- Design, specify, manufacture, install or modify work areas where fall-from-height risks exist or where plant is to be installed in such areas and may create height safety problems;
- Design, specify, manufacture or install equipment, including safety equipment, in areas where fall-from-height risks exist;
- Off-site supervision or management of persons who may be exposed to fall-from-height risks;
- Connect to or use either a work positioning or fall-arrest system;
- Install control measures, either temporary or permanent, to reduce the risks associated with working in areas where fall-from-height risks exist; and
- Participate in first response rescue methods.
While the Appendix makes it clear that the above list does not cover all roles, it also includes a table of core training elements and performance criteria that may be applicable to those roles. The competency needs of the various target groups should reflect the duration of training courses. Prior knowledge and learning should be considered and, where applicable, may reduce training duration.
The Appendix also provides guidance to training organisations, advising that trainers and assessors should themselves be knowledgeable in all relevant aspects of working at height and be conversant with appropriate legislation, codes of practice and standards.
It should also be noted that the standard requires retailers, resellers and the providers of hire equipment to be aware of any duty of care they may be required to observe when supplying equipment covered by the AS/NZS 1891 series of standards. Whether supplied directly or indirectly, operators must be encouraged to acquaint themselves with height safety theory.
The new standard provides significant added emphasis to the obligations to train and assess competency of all those involved with working at height issues. The FPMA strongly advocates that those involved familiarise themselves fully with the AS/NZS 1891.4 2009 document. Advice can also be sought from any FPMA member through the website at: www.fpma.com.au.
The Fall Protection Manufacturers Association of Australia is a professional association comprising all leading Australian companies in the design and manufacture of fall protection equipment. This article cannot cover every aspect of the Standard and those involved are requested to obtain and study the full Standards Australia document. The FPMA has strongly supported the tightening of Australian standards surrounding the selection, use and maintenance of height safety equipment.