Don't be complacent — height safety standards still need to be maintained

Friday, 23 October, 2015 | Supplied by: Sayfa Group

Going back 12 to 18 months ago, the height safety industry was abuzz with information, publications and news items about the changes to Australian Standard AS/NZS 5532. It seemed every magazine and website had an article or advice on anchor point compliance and revisions to the standard. Questions were asked of the manufacturer, installer and end user, and there was a certain sense of urgency which triggered a reaction to ‘get things done’.

But now that the dust has settled, have we all become a little too complacent? Given that anchor points are manufactured and used on a daily basis and form an integral part of fall protection systems, one would hope not. Unfortunately, sometimes once the hype has died down, momentum wanes and other, more urgent issues take priority.

It is crucial that we do not lose sight of the fact that non-compliant anchor points and incorrect installation can have serious, even deadly, consequences.

Australian Standard AS/NZS 5532 requires a single anchor point to be tested both statically and dynamically. Additionally, to enable the anchor to be passed as compliant for a particular roof type, it must be tested in situ, ie, while mounted on that particular roof material. This new testing procedure ensures that the anchor and the structure to which it is connected will perform as required in the event of an incident.

The issue of whether previously installed anchors need to meet AS/NZS 5532 is still a hot subject of debate. Sayfa Group can confirm that previously installed 3Sixty anchors do meet the requirements of AS/NZS 5532. However, it would seem some systems installed require testing — but this would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Factors that need to be considered are:

  • the type and current rating of the anchor;
  • the type of roofing material that the anchor is connected to and the roof structure suitability;
  • the location of the anchor and the overall system design; and
  • the anchor point’s compliance to AS/NZS 5532.

Where to from here?

As manufacturers of roof access and fall protection equipment, Sayfa Group is vitally aware that its products must meet the requirements of Australian Standards. The company’s customers need to remain confident and secure that its systems are performing reliably and are able to offer protection when it is needed most. Following testing at a NATA testing lab, Sayfa’s 3Sixty anchor point met all the requirements and was found to be fully compliant with Australian Standard AS/NZS 5532:2013 rated to 15 kN.

But it is not just manufacturers who must be aware of the need to comply.

Installers need to follow all of a manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations to ensure a compliant install. Confirming that the systems they are installing meet current standards is also necessary to guarantee that the customer is getting a system in line with all the required regulations.

PCBUs (persons conducting a business or undertaking) also have a responsibility under the Work Health and Safety Act to give their workers the ‘highest level of health and safety protection from hazards arising from work, so far as is reasonably practicable’. Conducting a site audit can be a good place to start. This will highlight any non-compliant systems and can give some guidance of what needs to be carried out to get the workplace up to an acceptable standard.

Compliant, reliable systems do save lives. Nothing proves this more than facts. Sayfa Group says: “We can state proudly that we have actual reports that our anchor systems have saved six lives!”

Contact Sayfa Group on 1300 301 755 or email for further advice or to organise a safety audit.

Phone: 03 8727 9000
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