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Fall Prevention Crisis Summit

Fall Prevention Crisis Summit

“There’s nothing like a death to make you think in a different way”, says Gordon Cadzow of WAHA”

The Working At Heights Association(WAHA) has called the crisis summit in response to a spiralling number of dangerous installations. The summit will be facilitated by prominent OHS lawyer and author, Michael Tooma, and hosts a panel of experts including representatives from WorkCover NSW, construction, international height safety bodies, the occupational health and safety sector and the Working At Heights Association (WAHA) itself.

Part of the problem, says WAHA secretary Gordon Cadzow, is the lack of awareness of the number of inadequate safety systems on Australia’s rooftops.

I as asked to comment on this on ABC Radio earlier this week, and a recording of the 4 minute interview can be heard below.

“WAHA is taking the lead and collecting data and photographs of installations considered to be unsafe,” he said in a WAHA media release.

“It is hoped that this information will be used to support planned discussions at the conference and with Safe Work Australia in an attempt to secure their involvement in supporting the development of an industry based Code of Practice in the hope that we can prevent deaths in the future.

Mr Cadzow says that while there are many existing inter-related codes, regulations and standards covering fall prevention, compliance is not understood as a priority for unprofessional installers.

The average installer working out of the back of a truck doesn’t want to read and understand the multitude of documents governing safe working at height before doing an installation,” he said. “He just wants to get the job done as quickly as possible and get out of there.”

“The regulators will tell you that the law mandates the job has to be done properly by a competent person. The problem is, it’s not being policed and until the Association puts data and evidence on the table, it won’t be.”

“Our association was established years ago after a fatality and we continue to dedicate our efforts to stop it happening again. There’s nothing like a death to make you think in a different way.

The fall prevention industry crisis summit will include an open discussion and, at its conclusion, WAHA will ask for a show of support from the public. Attendance is free but organisers say seating is limited. Ensure your place at the summit here.

About The Author

Carl Sachs is the Managing Director of the working at heights specialists Workplace Access & Safety. He is a renowned expert in height safety and consults to major corporations and government on working at height. He represents the FMA (Facility Managers Association) on Australian standard committee AS/NZS1891, and was a committee member that redrafted AS1657. He is Chairman of the Technical Committee of WAHA (Working at Heights Association), and is a director of the Association.