Strong regulatory requirements apply to all fall hazards from one level to another, regardless of the distance from the ground. This includes the use of low level platforms and ladders.
Falling objects can also cause serious injuries. Ensure that objects do not fall onto people who may be under or next to a work area.
Schools are advised that there is a prohibition on departmental employees, students and volunteers being on, or working on roofs* at departmental facilities.
*this prohibition includes all roofs on buildings, structures and covered walkways (e.g. single and multistorey constructions, breezeway roofs, awnings, shed roofs, detached or demountable building roofs, sun shade structures etc.)
Departmental procedures and guidelines
The working at heights Guideline (PDF, 788KB) describes the processes required to safely manage work at heights.
Workplaces are to identify tasks that place staff, students or others at risk of a fall from heights and:
- Determine if the task can be performed another way e.g. design changes, using long-handled tools, use skilled contractors.
- If heights must be accessed, the activity must have controls or systems in place to prevent falls.
- Follow the 5 level hierarchy of fall control (WHS Regulation 2011, s79).
The department requires its employees to document their risk management practices in the following ways for all activities which have the potential for falls from height:
|Any activity that involves being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility.
Stop. Do not proceed. Being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility is prohibited for all school staff, students and visitors.
|Activities where you already know the risks and know how to control them.
||Review and adhere to the risk assessment/Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)/Safe Operating Procedure (SOP).
|The task involves a fall hazard of less than 2 metres and is:
A new activity or a significant change to an existing activity.
|Complete and adhere to a
risk assessment (DOCX, 368KB).
Apply the hierarchy of control starting at level 1 (elimination).
If ladders are used, you must state why you are not using a higher level control.
|Tasks that involve fall hazards of 2 metres or more
above the ground (measured from the feet)
Tasks that involve fall hazards of 1.5 metres
below ground level (measured from the feet).
Warning. Complete a
SWMS (DOCX, 460KB).
Develop and adhere to any SOPs relevant to the safe completion of the task (e.g. for plant and equipment, pre-start procedures).
Many falls take place when people are working from ladders. Ladders may only be selected when it is not reasonably practicable to use higher order control measures. Other options (e.g. an elevating work platform or scaffolding) are to be assessed to determine if they would be safer or more efficient or more suited to the task.
- The use of ladders is to be subject to risk assessment, safe work procedures and training.
- Ladders should only be used as a work platform for
light work of
short duration after key hazards such as work position, over reach and set-up have been considered.
- All ladders in departmental workplaces are to have a load rating of at least 120 kg and be manufactured for industrial use.
Information to assist your workplace identify, review and manage fall hazards:
Templates to assist users to assess and control the risks associated with fall hazards.
Safe operating procedures
Safe operating procedures (SOPs) provide detailed information on how to address issues related to the safe use of equipment. A range of generic SOPs are provided below. Ensure you modify the content to reflect any local circumstances related to your task and equipment before you implement them.
Legislation and other links