How to identify fall hazards in the workplace.
You must identify all locations and tasks that could cause injury due to a fall. This includes access to the areas where work is to be carried out. Tasks that need particular attention are those carried out:
- on any structure or plant being constructed or installed, demolished or dismantled, inspected, tested, repaired or cleaned
- on a fragile surface (for example, cement sheeting roofs, rusty metal roofs, fibreglass sheeting roofs and skylights)
- on a potentially unstable surface (for example, areas where there is potential for ground collapse)
- using equipment to work at the elevated level (for example, when using elevating work platforms or portable ladders)
- on a sloping or slippery surface where it is difficult for people to maintain their balance (for example, on glazed tiles)
- near an unprotected open edge (for example, near incomplete stairwells)
- near a hole, shaft or pit into which a worker could fall (for example, trenches, lift shafts or service pits).
INSPECT THE WORKPLACE
Walk around the workplace and talk to your workers to find out where work is carried out
that could result in falls. A checklist may be useful in this process. Key things to look for
+ the stability, fragility or brittleness
+ the potential to slip, for example where surfaces are wet, polished or glazed
+ the safe movement of workers where surfaces change
+ the strength or capability to support loads
+ the slope of work surfaces, for example, where they exceed 7 degrees.
2. levels—where levels change and workers may be exposed to a fall from one level to
3. structures—the stability of temporary or permanent structures
4. the ground—the evenness and stability of the ground for safe support of scaffolding or a
5. the working area—whether it is crowded or cluttered
6. entry and exit from the working area
7. edges—protection for open edges of floors, working platforms, walkways, walls or roofs
8. holes, openings or excavations—which will require guarding
9. hand grip—places where hand grip may be lost.
In some situations, advice may be needed from technical specialists, such as structural
engineers, to check the stability of structures or load bearing capacity.
REVIEW AVAILABLE INFORMATION, INCLUDING INCIDENT RECORDS
You should check your records of previous injuries and ‘near miss’ incidents related to falls.
Information and advice about fall hazards and risks relevant to particular industries and work activities is also available from regulators, industry associations, unions, technical specialists and safety consultants.