With the update to Work, Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2022 there have been significant changes to many regulations. One significant change many may not be aware of, is the requirement surrounding management of the risk of falls in the workplace.
The WHS regulation states:
WHS Regulations 2022 Part 4.4, Regulation 78 Management of risk of fall;
“(1) A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must manage, in accordance with Part 3.1, risks to health and safety associated with a fall by a person from one level to another that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the person or any other person”.
The OSH Regulations stated basically the same in OSH Regulations 1996 Division 5 Prevention of falls at workplaces; Regulation 3.49 Hazards relating to falling, duties of employer etc. to identify etc.
However there is a difference in relation to Edge Protection.
OSH Regulation 3.55. Edges, duties of employer etc. to prevent falls from
(1) A person who at a workplace, is an employer, the main contractor, a self-employed person or a person having control of the workplace must ensure that edge protection that complies with subregulation (5) is provided and kept in place whenever there is a risk that a person could fall 2 or more metres from the edge of —
(a) a scaffold, fixed stair, landing, or suspended slab at the workplace; or
(b) formwork or falsework at the workplace. Penalty: the regulation 1.16 penalty.
(2) A person who, at a workplace, is an employer, the main contractor, a self-employed person or a person having control of the workplace must ensure that either —
(a) edge protection that complies with subregulation (5) is provided and kept in place whenever there is a risk that a person could fall 3 or more metres from an edge at the workplace other than an edge referred to in subregulation (1); or
(b) a fall injury prevention system is provided and in operation whenever there is a risk that a person could fall 3 or more metres from an edge at the workplace other than an edge referred to in subregulation (1)
The WHS regulations have removed the identified 2 and 3 metre reference. There is no longer a height minimum before edge protection is required.
WHS Regulation 78 Management of risk of fall (2) (c) now refers to ‘in the vicinity of an edge over which a person could fall i.e. No height limit.
This Part 4.4 – Falls is significant in its changes and will affect many activities including Residential builds.
Many individuals and organisations may not be aware of these changes. During audits and inspections we have also heard personnel say they are aware but do not believe it will come into play, be enforced etc. Interesting statement considering it is already in place.
So, how robust is your fall prevention processes and procedures? Is your organisation ready or preparing for the changes?
If you would like to know more contact us
Note: A new code of Practice (COP) for managing the risk of falls at workplaces is also now in effect, see the link below (includes information fact sheet).