Australia & New Zealand Legal Requirements regarding fall protection
Every state in Australia (except WA) has now taken up the national harmonised ‘Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011’ (WHS) which cover the risk of falls across all workplaces and industries.
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must:
- manage the risk of a fall by a person from one level to another level that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the person or any other person
- ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any work that involves the risk of a fall is carried out on the ground or on a solid construction.
If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk of a fall, then the duty holder must minimise the risk of a fall by providing adequate protection against the risk.
Adequate protection means providing and maintaining a safe system of work (administrative controls) and:
- providing a fall prevention device if it is reasonably practicable to do so
- providing a work positioning system, if it is not reasonably practicable to provide a fall prevention device
- providing a fall arrest system, so far as is reasonably practicable, if it is not reasonably practicable to comply with either of the above.
If a duty holder implements a fall arrest system as a measure to control risk they must minimise the risk of injury from the fall, and establish emergency and rescue procedures in relation to the use of the system.
There are 3 model Codes of Practice which support the legislation and act as guides to the requirements and implementation of the WHS legislation.
This document applies to all workplaces covered in the WHS legislation.
This should only be read in conjunction with the above two documents.
However, not all states follows these codes and to have effect in a jurisdiction, the model Code of Practice must be approved as a code of practice in that jurisdiction. To determine if a Code of Practice has been approved as a code of practice in a particular jurisdiction, check with the relevant regulator.
Western Australia (WA)
WA is yet to implement the new WHS regulations. Currently WA follows:
Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996
Code of Practice: Prevention of Falls at Workplaces
For more information, visit: www.safetyline.wa.gov.au
Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995
Approved Codes of Practice:
Construction and Building Maintenance: Falls from heights—avoiding
Construction and Building Maintenance: Heights—Safe Work at
Construction and Building Maintenance: Falls—Guidelines for the Prevention of
For more information visit: www.osh.dol.govt.nz