What happens if my height safety system recertification fails?

Technician completing their field notes following a compliance inspection.

Despite best efforts, sometimes a roof safety system fails recertification. Here is what happens next.

Keeping your height safety or fall protection system in compliance is a critical aspect of workplace safety. There are several laws, regulations and standards that govern not only how a system is used, but how it is designed and installed as well.

To assist in keeping your system certified as compliant with all these requirements, annual recertification inspections of your system are an absolute must for every building owner, facility manager or any other PCBU who is responsible for people working at heights or in areas where there is a risk of a fall.

Annual recertification inspections check your installed system, ensuring that all the components of the system are in good condition, are functioning as designed and their installation meets the guidelines for safe use.

It is possible that an inspection may uncover issues with a previously installed system. Height safety and fall protection systems are commonly outdoors, on rooftops or other exposed areas, and being in the elements like this can introduce a range of issues. Corrosion or damage to the supporting structure of a system is a common issue found by our inspectors.

Anchor points and other components of systems can sometimes be compromised or accidentally broken through being trodden on, or having unexpected loads placed on them. Naturally, any fall protection component that has been subject to the forces of a person falling from height will no longer be compliant.

When issues are discovered during a recertification inspection, the inspector will take photographs of the relevant area, and include details of the non-compliance in the recertification report.

This report will compile all the issues found on a site during an inspection into one reference document.

A recertification report from HSE will also provide recommendations for rectification, upgrade or repair work required to bring the system back into compliance.

Height Safety Engineers generally advise that PCBUs, building owners or facility managers responsible for these systems get this repair work done as soon as practicable. Having a non-compliant system introduces significant safety risks to anyone who uses the system.

But depending on the anticipated use of your system, it may be possible to delay repair work, if the system is not going to be used. Perhaps air-conditioning or other plant previously located on the roof is no longer there or building works have resulted in the area now being surrounded with a suitable parapet or guard rail.

Another option is to restrict access to only the compliant sections of the system. This allows workers to still use the fall protection system that is compliant, but not the parts that have been noted as non-compliant. In some cases, this may still allow teams to complete their work safely.

Booking your recertification inspection in the first step in improving your teams’ safety at work. To discuss your needs, contact our recertification team on 1300 884 978 or email enquiries@heightsafety.net. Our team of experts can assist in putting together a plan to minimise the fall risks in your workplace.

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