The Height Safety Engineers Difference
At Height Safety Engineers we are serious about working safely at heights with best practice equipment, made perfect.
Height safety systems are required under Australian law to undergo an inspection every 12 months to ensure they remain complaint and certified as appropriate for use.
A height safety system could be as simple as a single ladder and anchor point. They can be more involved, with engineered walkways. There are also advanced systems that combine a number of elements, working together to protect against the risk of a fall.
Height Safety Engineers conducts certification inspections on all manner of height safety and roof access systems around Australia daily.
Our decades of experience give us a unique view on the height safety industry and help us see where it is failing those that rely on height and roof access systems to stay safe at work, sometimes to a frightening degree.
One area of constant concern to us is the incorrect installation of anchors points, or anchor points that have been placed in unsuitable areas.
An anchor point allows a person to work at height and helps to restrain or arrest a fall via an attached rope line and harness. There are clear guidelines in place and specific manufacturer instructions to follow regarding where and how an anchor point should be installed for safe use.
Take the image, right, of an anchor point that has been installed into the parapet wall on a building’s roof.
Our inspector has placed their marker pen across the concrete where there is clearly insufficient width in the structure to allow the anchor point to support a fall.
It does not take much imagination to see what a 15kN force (equivalent of 1500kg generated by a person falling) would do to that thin wall of concrete.
There are other issues we come across on a regular basis as well when conducting recertification inspections.
Instances where it is clear a recertification inspection has been carried out from the ground, with the inspector not going to see the system for themselves before certifying that it will respond as intended if required in the event of a fall.
Many anchors we come across have never been physically checked for tightness or general integrity. What does it say about a safety system if the person charged with inspecting it does not actually use it?
In the worst cases, we hear of recertification companies sending out junior inspectors to certify a system after a senior colleague had failed as non-compliant, noting significant issues and rectification work needing to be undertaken.
It is critical than when assessing and certifying these height safety and roof access systems, that inspections be done in a practical, holistic and focused manner.
Height Safety Engineers strive to be a company that has a positive force on the entire safety industry. We will always advocate for safety beyond the cheapest quote, beyond the frustration of paperwork, beyond simply getting the job done.
Everyone deserves to go home from work at the end of the day.
We cannot hold any level of empathic distance when we hear on the news of a worker falling off a ladder, or from scaffolding, or from a roof.
We aim to uphold three basic tenants that underpin everything we do:
- Strict adherence to best practice standards and regulations
- Proactive approach to safety
A safety system does not work if those using it do not understand its functions and limitations, nor of they do not have the skills and knowledge when it comes to safe work practices while working at heights.
A safety system should be made of only the highest quality components, installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and best practice standards. When it comes to safety, it is vital that the system be made up of the right pieces, not just the cheapest pieces.
Safety does not stop once the system is installed. Improvements, both in equipment, processes and skills, should be an important part of any safety system.
We need to be constantly looking at how we can increase levels of safety for those working at heights. Systems can always be better built and working at heights processes modified to reduce risks before a ladder is even climbed.
If we allow ourselves to succumb to the comfort of thinking that what we have done already is enough, we run the risk of complacency taking hold and the risk of a fall becoming much greater.
At Height Safety Engineers we are passionate about making sure that every person using a height safety or roof access system is being given the best possible chance of returning home to their family at the end of the day.