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Fall Arrest Anchors, advice from Workcover

The on going discussions and confusions about AS/NZS5532 have led for Workcover, now SafeWork NSW, to release a Fact sheet that can be read in full below, clearly stating in black and white where they stand on the matter.  RIGCOM Access continues to take the position that we will only install anchors that have been certified to meet the new standard and commends SafeWork NSW for releasing this Fact Sheet highlighting the current situation.

FALL ARREST ANCHORS

This fact sheet provides advice on fall arrest anchors.

It includes information about AS 1891.4: 2009 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices Part 4: Selection, use and maintenance  and  AS/NZS  5532:2013  Manufacturing  requirements  for  single  point anchor devices used for harness-based work at height under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation.

BACKGROUND

There have been numerous requests for advice as to the status of Australian Standards under the WHS legislation, especially in relation to these two standards.

This fact sheet has been developed to clarify the situation given the apparent confusion regarding AS/NZS 5532 and subsequent marketing of anchor inspection and replacement services based on assertions that the standard applies retrospectively.

Note that AS/NZS 5532 is a manufacturing standard; it does not address ongoing inspection, testing and maintenance and only addresses installation by way of specifying system design and installation information that is to be supplied with the anchors.

WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATION OBLIGATIONS

WHS legislation is performance based, focusing on achieving safety outcomes. Wherever possible it does not specify prescriptive means by which outcomes are to be achieved, including by not referring to standards.

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation places obligations on various parties in relation to falls. The obligation is essentially to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of persons, so includes those who would otherwise be exposed to a risk of injury from a fall.

This includes following the hierarchy of control. For managing the risk of a fall, the reliance on fall-arrest systems is well down the hierarchy, so they should only be used when other higher order controls, such as working from the ground, solid construction or temporary platforms, are not reasonably practicable.

Part 4.4 of the WHS Regulation 2011 provides more prescriptive obligations in relation to falls, and the Code of practice – Managing the risk of falls in workplaces (the falls code) provides additional guidance.

STATUS AND APPLICATION OF AS/NZS 1891.4 AND AS/NZS 5532

Compliance with a standard is mandatory if stated as such in the work health and safety legislation. Neither AS/NZS 1891.4 nor AS/NZS 5532 are mandatory standards in the legislation.

However, the falls code does include references to the AS/NZS 1891 series and ‘relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards’.

The anchorage points section states:

Each anchorage point should comply with the requirements of AS/NZS 1891:4 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices selection, use and maintenance.

While compliance with a standard that is referenced in a code of practice is not mandatory, a court may have regard to it in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.  The code should be followed unless following another method provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety.

Although not referenced, as it was not published when the Falls Code was being drafted, AS/NZS 5532 forms part of the industry knowledge that should be known and considered when making decisions about workplace health and safety.

As at September 2015 we also know that:

  • Some sectors of industry have raised issues concerning NATA certified testing requirements
  • In response to this, Standards Australia held a fall arrest anchor forum in February 2015 to clarify the industry concerns with the Standard.  No clear outcome was derived
  • In the August 2015 call for nominations, Standards Australia has received further proposals calling for review of AS/NZS 5532
  • Until this issue is resolved many manufacturers are yet to complete testing to AS/NZS 5532, and some existing products are failing the test
  • There have been no known instances of a correctly installed and inspected anchor that complies with the strength requirements from AS/NZS 1891.4 failing during a fall arrest incident

Given the above, SafeWork NSW advice is:

  • Product would be expected to comply with the strength requirements of the well-established AS/NZS 1891.4 until the review of AS/NZS 5532 is completed
  • While AS/NZS 5532 is under review, manufacturers will not be expected to produce product complying with AS/NZS 5532; however any complying product would be considered acceptable
  • The fall arrest systems being used with the anchors should provide energy absorbers, or other means, that limit the peak load on the harness connection and thus anchor during a fall to 6kN, as per the AS/NZS 1891 suite of standards
  • Once the issues are resolved with AS/NZS 5532, manufacturers would be expected to be supplying complying product within 2 years
  • AS/NZS 5532 is not expected to apply retrospectively to existing installed anchors; AS/NZS 1891.4 would be the relevant standard to apply
  • Inspection programs based on AS/NZS 1891.4, including annual load testing of chemical and friction anchors, should continue for all installed anchors
  • Where anchors are found to be damaged or not to have been installed in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions – eg roof mounted anchors with insufficient fasteners or installed in roof sheeting that is thinner than specified – the anchors be made compliant with the manufacturer’s instructions, or replaced

The above can be found on NSW Workcover’s website: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/media/publications/health-and-safety/fall-arrest-anchors

AS/NZS 5532: 2013 Press Release from Forum.

With some questions being raised on the AS/NZS 5532: 2013, which has now been out since October 2013. Standards Australia recently held a forum with stakeholders in the industry who wished to point out issues with the standard and the need for it to be reviewed. The meeting occurred on 12 Feb 2015 and Standards Australia have since released a press release.

The key point to this press release is:

“To address feedback on application of the Standard, Jennifer Harwood, Senior National Sector Manager from Standards Australia, explained that Australian Standards are voluntary documents unless cited by regulation or called up in contract. Mr Chris Turner explained that there is no current WHS regulation mandating the use of AS/NZS 5532:2013. There are also no laws requiring anchors that do not conform to AS/NZS 5532:2013 to be withdrawn from the market. The decision to withdraw existing anchors needs to be made on a case-by-case basis as to whether they are safe, not whether they comply with the Standard.”

Although the standard is out there, according to the above statement there is no case for non conforming anchors to be removed from the market unless they are not safe. Ideally manufacturers and end users will want to have anchors that meet the new standard installed, in case in the future the standard is referenced. Some manufacturers are already producing the certification for their anchors to this standard, leading the way in the industry to continually try to improve it.

RIGCOM Access recommends, and will only install anchors that now meet the AS5532 standard to ensure our clients have the best and safest anchors on the market.

 

Below is the press release from Standards Australia.

 

Forum on AS/NZS 5532: 2013 Manufacturing requirements for single-point anchor device for harness-based work at height

Standards Australia held an open forum today on the joint Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 5532: 2013 Manufacturing requirements for single-point anchor device for harness-based work at height.

The Standard was prepared by the joint Australian and New Zealand Technical Committee SF-015, Industrial Height Safety Equipment, and published on 30 October 2013.

Following its publication, Standards Australia received four proposals in September 2014 to revise AS/NZS 5532:2013. After careful evaluation, Standards Australia found that these proposals required a clear scope and broad stakeholder support. Standards Australia therefore hosted a public engagement forum to discuss next steps.

The objective of the forum was for Standards Australia to engage stakeholders on the Standards development process, discuss issues and challenges with AS/NZS 5532:2013, identify a clear scope for potential revisions to the Standard, and to agree on the next steps.

Mr Bill Woods, Chairman of Technical Committee SF-015, gave an overview of the Standards development process, structure of the technical committee, and summary of issues from the four proposals. Mr Chris Turner, State Inspector Engineering from WorkCover NSW, spoke from the regulatory perspective while Mr Gordon Cadzow, Secretary of the Working at Heights Association, gave the industry perspective. Forum participants also had a discussion on key issues in test requirements and challenges in application of the Standard.

There was broad agreement among the participants that the forum was a first step for all stakeholders to agree on the key issues, and not a platform to consider solutions to the challenges.

Participants broadly agreed on a potential scope for future revisions to the Standard. The three areas identified for potential review were related to test requirements for manufacturers, specifically:

i) 15kN static load test.

  • The 15 kN static load test requirement is a potential area for review on whether it should apply to all anchor types and whether the load is appropriate.

ii) Drop Test (Dynamic Test):

  • In reviewing the 15 kN static load test requirement, the drop test (dynamic test) requirements should be reviewed accordingly, including the sequence of the testing and the drop height and/or weight in the dynamic test.

iii) Test bed:

  • The orientation of the test system is an area for review.
  • The committee can also consider including testing requirements for different categories of substrates.
  • Specifically, clause 6.1 can be clarified as to which anchor types need to be tested on a test bed.

To address feedback on application of the Standard, Jennifer Harwood, Senior National Sector Manager from Standards Australia, explained that Australian Standards are voluntary documents unless cited by regulation or called up in contract. Mr Chris Turner explained that there is no current WHS regulation mandating the use of AS/NZS 5532:2013. There are also no laws requiring anchors that do not conform to AS/NZS 5532:2013 to be withdrawn from the market. The decision to withdraw existing anchors needs to be made on a case-by-case basis as to whether they are safe, not whether they comply with the Standard.

Forum participants broadly agreed that the next steps for any potential revision of the Standard would be for a party to submit a proposal to Standards Australia, with a clearly defined project scope incorporating the three areas for revision as agreed upon in the forum, a well-defined net benefit case and evidence of broad stakeholder support.

Standards Australia reiterated its commitment for public engagement and consultation during the Standards development process. Standards Australia will carefully consider all proposals to revise AS/NZS 5532:2013 as part of its project prioritisation process.

Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System.

Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System

Capital Safety Portable Height Safety System.

The Capital Safety FlexiGuard™ SafRig™ with Outrigger Base is a portable solution for indoor and outdoor maintenance where mobility and worker safety are key. These systems incorporate a 360° rotating jib with the capacity to provide fall protection for one person. Forklift pockets are strategically located on the base to ensure ease of mobility and placement from job site to job site. The base is also designed to easily drive over, and the system does not require the weight of the vehicle as the anchor force for complete flexibility. DBI-SALA® has created a proven process for developing unique solutions. Whether it’s an existing or modified product, or an entirely new design, Capital Safety’s FlexiGuard™ always meets the requirements of your specific application. Each custom solution is driven by our customers’ needs and is dependent on the industry, environment and specific design constraints, including government standards. Capital Safety also have numerous pre-engineered systems that may be a perfect solution to your fall protection challenge. All of Capital Safety’s systems are extremely durable and built to last with world-class quality, materials and workmanship. They are unique solutions to unique challenges, and fall protection you can trust. They are now available from RIGCOM Access.

Features

  • Freestanding jib fall arrest system – A portable solution for indoor and outdoor maintenance where mobility and worker safety are key.
  • Provides overhead tie-off point for vehicle maintenance worker – Allows worker to tie-off to system and provides fall protection while working on top of various transportation vehicles.
  • 6.1 m anchor height – Provides ample vertical space to fit most vehicle scenarios for complete safety and flexibility.
  • 1.75 m offset from mast – Provides ample space horizontally to fit most jobsite scenarios and vehicle types for added flexibility.
  • Jib rotates 360 degrees – System rotates 360° and can be controlled by built-in rotation lock to either limit rotation or completely lock.
  • Freestanding outrigger base with forklift pockets – Attach the Jib to the freestanding base for a fall arrest rated anchor point, system can be easily moved from location to location.
  • Drive over outrigger design – Allows for close positioning of the mast and boom to the vehicle for added mobility and flexibility.
  • System does not require any vehicle counterweight – Because this system is truly freestanding, it does not require the vehicles weight to anchor and offers tremendous flexibility in positioning SafRig™ virtually anywhere around the vehicle.
  • High strength durable steel construction – System is designed to stand up to the forces involved in a fall, and is powder coated safety yellow for added protection and corrosion resistance.
  • Integrated rescue device mounting hardware – The system has a quick-mount bracket and rescue device lifeline pulleys built-in if you want to add a mechanical device like an Advanced™ winch.
  • Custom designs also available – If you don’t see what you need, our experts will walk you through a simple process to develop a custom solution for your application.
  • Specialised installation and training available – Support and service that is second to none from the start of the project throughout the life of the product for added peace of mind.

For more information about how RIGCOM Access Height Safety services can help provide you with this Capital Safety working at heights solution. Call RIGCOM Access on 1300 893 230 or email.

Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System 2Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System 1Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System 3Capital Safety SafRig Portable Height Safety System 4

Height Safety Hot Work SRL released by Capital Safety

Capital Safety launch the new DBI-SALA® Nano-Lok™ range of Self Retracting Lifelines (SRL’s) designed for Hot Work

Capital Safety

Capital Safety, the global leader in fall protection has announced the launch of their new DBI-SALA® Nano-Lok™ range of Self Retracting Lifelines (SRL’s) designed for Hot Work Use. The Nano-Lok Hot Work range is arc flashed to 8 calories (8 cal/cm2), for hot work use in applications like welding, grinding and torching where sparks and slag can easily compromise standard polyester webbing lifelines.

“Capital Safety continues to enhance and adapt products for use in applications across all industries,” said Rick Millar, Technical Manager for Capital Safety Australia & New Zealand. “After releasing our range of Nano-Lok SRL’s we saw a need in the field for an extremely lightweight and compact SRL for use in high heat environments.”

Belonging to the Nano-Lok family, these new SRL’s have the same feature set making them the most compact and lightweight self retracting lifelines on the market. They can be used in place of lanyards and can be directly attached to any harness, reducing fall clearances. Designed for ease-of-use, these SRL’s are virtually unnoticeable to the user when worn and provide the ultimate in work site flexibility.

The new specialist Nano-Lok range for Hot Work Use consists of three models designed to cover the majority of applications encountered in high temperature work environments. Constructed from reinforced webbing with Nomex®/Kevlar® fibre, the range withstands sparks, weld splatter and other high heat exposure, ensuring safety around high heat environments. DBI-SALA’s i-Safe™ intelligent safety system utilising RFID technology is built into each Nano-Lok Hot Work SRL to track inspections, control inventory and manage information.

For more information on this Capital Safety Height Safety Equipment, contact RIGCOM Access on 1300 893 230 or Email.

Are your Height Safety, Rope Access Anchors Safe??

Major concerns with Height Safety and Rope Access Anchors is slowly getting media attention.

At every meeting the Working at Heights Association (WAHA) have, there are severe concerns within the group about anchors/systems that they have come across since the last meeting. RIGCOM Access is part of WAHA, with our MD Craig Myton, the Chairman for the installer category. Members of WAHA continue to find poor installations, with little or no documentation to support the install. Height Safety/Rope Access Layouts that don’t take into consideration; safe access and egress, plant and equipment that is installed, who is going to use it,  frequency of use.

Simply installing a few anchors on a roof, does not make for a compliant system. Simply requesting, ‘Oh I only want a couple of anchors here’, does not make for a compliant system. As pointed out in the report. ANYONE can go and buy anchors, or make them up, install them, and sign it off with complying with Australian Standards. But, do those people have the correct insurances? Are they installing a product that meets current Australian Standards? Are they accredited to a manufacturer and have carried out specific training? And by requesting ‘only a couple of anchors…..’ are you opening yourself, as the client, up to potential issues in the future? The WHS 2011 is clear about the responsibilities and potential fines, jail terms should something go wrong.

Below is a recent piece of the media coverage, by ABC, about the concerns and issues within the Height Safety industry.

About 800,000 people around Australia work at heights of more than two metres every day. They do all sorts of jobs; installing air conditioning units, to maintenance of buildings and cleaning services.

But there’s increasing concern within the industry that the equipment they’re using to anchor their safety harnesses is often unsafe.

As Imogen Brennan reports, workers fear their lives are being put at risk.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4104724.htm