Heights, Standards and Safety

Engineering and design Standards have existed globally for a long time.  They have considerable authority, often provided through legislation, and underpin many of the safety devices and equipment used in workplaces.  But does compliance with Standards mean that something is safe?

The easy answer is no. A recent presentation to the Central Safety Group (CSG) by David Davis of the Working at Heights Association illustrated this gap between workplace safety compliance and compliance with Standards.

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Personalised training, ladder standards and a non-gamechanger

L to R: Brad Parker, Liz Tosti, Chris McKie

Day 2 of the SAFETYconnect conference commenced with a disrupted panel discussion comprising four representatives of Australia workplace safety regulators.  Each representative provided a 10 minute presentation about their agency and their plans.  Curiously almost all of them discussed their strategic plans which varied between three and ten years but almost all contained the same aims, targets and challenges.

Some of the most interesting content was in the more practical stream of the conference.

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Hi-viz and safety – it’s all about the context

High visibility clothing has spread from the work site to the public arena and, as such, has complicated the reasons for hi-viz clothing.  However the fundamental underpinning of high-viz is to contrast against the surrounding environment. This contrast does not only relate to clothing but also signage.

Several years ago, a couple of women from Tasmania visited the offices of SafetyAtWorkBlog to discuss the practicality of hi-viz vests for toddlers and small children.  The hi-viz logic of the work site is easily applied to the public park or farms.  A contrasting colour to the trees or bushland would make it easier to identify someone, like a wayward child.  On a work site, the hi-viz is more about identifying a hazard, whether that be a person, an overhead wire or a work boundary.

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