Physical Controls

If a full risk assessment and work method statement has determined the need to use personal protective equipment, careful consideration must be given to the following work at height techniques. Refer to AS/ NZ 1891.4 for further information. All personnel using PPE at height must be trained in the proper use and limitations of their equipment.

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Fall Restraint

Fall restraint is the preferred approach to fall protection – it prevents you from falling and from suffering possible injury from the fall arrest system. Work restraint is a technique which uses PPE to prevent a person from entering an area of where a risk of fall from height exists.

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Work Positioning

Work Positioning is a technique for supporting a person while working by means of PPE in tension, in such a way as to prevent a fall.

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Fall Arrest

Fall arrest is an approach which makes use of items of PPE to stop a falling person under safe conditions. This means that if a worker is in a position such that if he loses control he will fall, he is required to use PPE to limit both the distance and force of that fall.

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Emergency Plan

AS 1891.4 states that the rescue of a fallen worker must occur as soon as possible, as does the National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls from Heights in Construction Work. It also recommends that a person should not use a fall arrest system unless there is at least one other person on site who can rescue the user in the event of a fall. In some situations, at least two persons may be required to safely rescue a person who has had a fall. This requires specific training.

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Confined Space

Safe access and egress from confined spaces requires careful planning. When access and egress also includes the potential for falls, then it is considered as work at height. In all cases rescue and recovery must be planned and the personnel be trained in emergency procedures. All personnel using PPE at height must be trained in the proper use and limitations of their equipment.

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Fall Clearance
An often overlooked hazard is that of fall clearances. You must ensure there is sufficient distance beneath the user to ensure they do not hit a lower level, or the ground, before the fall arrest system is fully deployed. The illustration here shows the necessary fall clearance is 6.55 metres when using a 2 metre shock absorbing lanyard. Other equipment will have different clearance requirements. Refer to AS/NZ1891.4 for further information.


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