Height Safety is a critical component of the life of a Facility Manager. According to Safe Work Australia in 2021 they were over 22 fatalities that occurred due to workers falling from heights. Unfortunately, in life it is not possible to eliminate all risks. Australia’s workplace legislation tries to balance the safety entitlements of employees and the inherent risk of working from heights.
The legislation, requires employers to eliminate or minimise risks associated with working at heights that is considered ‘reasonably practicable' . However, we all still have to go to work, drive our cars to the shops and for skilled workers such as you – occasionally need to work from heights. But, how do you, as a Facility Manager keep your staff and contractors safe?
There are a number of best practices that Safe Work Australia recommends. We have rounded up 5 useful tips to help you keep your workplace safe.
TIP 1: Use a fall-prevention device
A fall prevention device, is called this as it is a device that helps prevent workers from falling. In the area of facility management, it is a necessary component that roofs have to be inspected for things such as rust, debris and for structural issues. However, as this is considered a high -risk activity, you need to make sure that you or your organisation is taking all reasonably practicable steps to minimise the risk of a fall. An example of a fall prevention device includes temporary work platforms, such as guardrails and scaffolding. These are great examples of height safety equipment that is used to help keep you and contractors safer when working at heights.
TIP 2: Use a work-positioning system
Sometimes it isn’t reasonably practicable to use a fall-prevention device. The next best thing is referred to as a ‘Work positioning system’. According to Safe Work NSW , a work-positioning system refers to a system that prevents a fall hazard being reached. In practical terms, a work-positioning system could mean something like a restraint system.
A restraint system enables a person to work supported in tension in a way that prevents the person from falling. A great example of a work position system is a type of industrial rope access. If your workplace is unable to have a fall-prevention device or a work-positioning system you can install a fall-arrest system.
TIP 3: Use a fall-arrest system
A fall-arrest system may not prevent a fall; however, the goal of the system is to stop a worker who has fallen. A fall-arrest system is in place to reduce the impact of the fall which can reduce injuries in the event of a fall.
A great example of a fall-arrest system would include industrial safety nets, catch platforms or a harness-based system. You can also use arrest harnesses that can be used with lifelines of individual anchors. If you use a fall arrest system, you need to make sure you have emergency and rescue procedures in place. You also need to test them to ensure they are effective. Tip 4: Keep your policies and procedures up-to-date
The thing about policies and procedures is most of us don’t look at them until we absolutely have to. It is easy to put these things in a draw to focus on the fires that you need to put out daily. However, keeping policies and procedures up-to-date is an important part of the role of Facility Manager.
In the day-to-day life of facility manager, this means ensuring your on-site contractor’s SWMS is up to date and reflects the work that needs to be done.
Additionally, this could also mean checking that the contractor's certificate of insurance is current and covers the contractor tasks that they are onsite to perform. In order to make sure you comply with worker’s safety legislation in Australia you need to ensure that your practices and procedures are up to date and reflect the needs of your workplace.
TIP 5: Make sure you understand your organisation’s risk appetite
A risk appetite generally refers to the amount ‘of risk that an entity is willing to accept, or retain in order to achieve its goals'. In the role of a Facility Manager, this means assessing what is and isn’t a necessary risk in your day-to-day duties. In large commercial organisations, a risk appetite is generally set by Management and filtered down through to Facility Managers like yourself. It is important that Facility Managers understand the risk appetite of their organisation so they can make informed decision about what risks you can and can’t take in your daily duties. Not only does this help you minimise workplace hazards but it also empowers you to make decisions in line with your organisations risk appetite.
We hope you enjoyed our Top 5 Height Safety Tips for Facility Managers. At Asseti, we are passionate about height safety. We know that a safe workplace is a happy workplace. You will never be able to completely eliminate height safety risks but it’s on all of us to try and mitigate them as far as reasonably practicable. To help you in this task, you can use SAAS tool such as ours which supports your health and safety initiates by allowing you to monitor your physical asset from your desktop.
If you would like to hear more about how Asseti's SAAS platform can help you mitigate onsite risks, book a discovery call with us today