Working at heights is one of the highest risk activities in the industry, which is why it is the leading cause of death and serious injury in workplaces in Australia. There is a misconception around the definition of working at heights; most people relate working at heights to working on a skyscraper or a very tall tower. In reality, majority of injuries occur at less than three metres above the ground. Did you know that height risks exist below the ground as well? For example, a worker can fall into a hole, trench or water with an additional risk of asphyxiation.
The statistics around injuries or deaths related to working at heights are alarming. Based on research conducted by Safe Work Australia:
- An average of 29 people die every year in Australia from work-related falls
- Half of these fatal falls involved falling 3 metres or less (31% from a height of two metres or less and another 19% from a height between two and three metres)
- Workers aged 45 years and older made up 65% of those who died
- A typical claim due to falling from a height involves 6 weeks off work and average compensation payout of $14,000.
- The industries which reported the highest number of serious fall-related claims are construction (20%), manufacturing (12%) and transport & storage (11%).
The above statistics highlight the importance of undertaking a working at heights course prior to commencing work in this area. Nara Training’s nationally accredited Working at Heights course prepares participants for all safety and practical aspects of working at heights. If you have previously undertaken RIIWHS204D or RIIOHS204D, you can do a refresher course which will provide you with up to date knowledge on changing industry practices.
So, how do you minimize the risk of serious injury or death when working at heights?
- Enrol in a working at heights course taught by a reputable registered training organization. You will receive information, training and instructions on how to work safely at heights.
- When undertaking work that involves the risk of falling, ensure the work is done on a suitable working platform. If possible, work from the ground or underneath the work area rather than from above.
- Ensure proper edge protection is in place such as scaffolding or guardrails.
- Ensure all open areas are covered securely or are protected by physical barriers.
- Ladders should only be used when other higher levels of control such as working platforms or scaffold are not practical to use.
- When using ladders, ensure you have three points of contact at all times and never overreach. If possible, use a platform ladder instead.
So, to answer the initial question – is a Working at Heights ticket mandatory? The answer is a resounding YES! Do not even attempt to undertake this type of work without a proper ticket.
To find out more about Nara Training’s Working at Heights course or to make a booking, please visit our website.
If your job requires you to work in confined spaces as well, you can enroll in a Combined Working at Heights & Confined Space training course by clicking here.