At what height do you need a fall protection system?

fall protection

As stated in OSH Regulations, if any personnel or contractors are at risk of falling 2 metres or more from a flat edge such as scaffolds, stairs, landings and etc, then you will need “edge protection” in place. However, if the personnel are working on something apart from a flat edge, such as a roof, roof truss or ladder, then only 3 metres and above requires edge protection.

Handrails and scaffolds are commonly installed across roof areas as an edge protection. However, these may not be feasible to implement sometimes due to the building structure or budget constraint. Therefore, other systems such as anchorages and static lifelines are introduced which will hold the personnel in the event of a fall.

The most effective way to protect workers from the risk of falling is to eliminate the need to work at heights. This can be achieved either by eliminating the need to work above the ground or to provide a solid elevated construction from which the work can be performed safely.

If it is not possible to achieve this, the risk of a fall must be minimised through the application of control measures further down on the Hierarchy of Control. This means considering the use of fall arrest or restraint systems.

Toughest penalties for work health and safety breaches in Western Australia

The Occupational Safety and Health Amendment Act 2018 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Amendment Act 2018 came into effect on 3 October 2018 which have substantially increased the penalties for work health and safety offences in Western Australia.

The WHS Act provides for the following maximum penalties. Penalty levels are defined under section 3A of the OSH Act and range from level 1 to 4, depending on the degree of seriousness and culpability.

Penalty Level 4
Gross negligence causing death or serious harm
Officer of a PCBU or an individual who is a PCBU $550,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment (first offence), or $680,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment (repeat offence)
Body Corporate $2.7 million fine (first offence), or
$3.5 million fine (repeat offence)
Penalty Level 3
Breach resulting in serious harm or death
Officer of a PCBU or an individual who is a PCBU $400,000 fine (first offence), or
$500,000 fine (repeat offence)
Body Corporate $2 million fine (first offence), or
$2.5 million fine (repeat offence)
Penalty Level 2
Breach of duty exposing individual to risk of death or serious harm
Officer of a PCBU or an individual who is a PCBU $250,000 fine (first offence), or
$350,000 fine (repeat offence)
Body Corporate $1.5 million fine (first offence), or
$1.8 million fine (repeat offence)
Penalty Level 1
Breach of duty
An individual who is not a PCBU
(e.g. a worker or other person at the workplace)
$50,000 fine (first offence), or
$60,000 fine (repeat offence)
Officer of a PCBU or an individual who is a PCBU $100,000 fine (first offence), or
$120,000 fine (repeat offence)
Body Corporate $450,000 fine (first offence), or
$570,000 fine (repeat offence)