Designing buildings is your specialty – but what about height safety equipment?


As architects or building designers you are experts at creating functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing buildings and structures. That is what you do. But what do you know about access and fall protection system design?

According to Work Health & Safety laws designers must ensure "that any structure being designed to be used as a workplace will be without risk to the health and safety of persons". It is no longer satisfactory to pass responsibility to the builder by way of generic phrases such as "supply compliant roof safety systems". (For more information on this refer to our post "Don't assume you're covered - this clause may not protect you".)

We would not presume to know all the intricacies that go together to make a building design, so why is it taken for granted that architects should be proficient in height safety system design and all its requirements?

Many times workers are asked to perform work at height on buildings where the incorrect types of systems have been specified and in turn installed. This can mean a total audit on the height safety systems and in some cases can result in their replacement or a completely new installation of more suitable systems. This can be extremely costly and frustrating for builders and building owners who have been guided by the specifications and have installed what they thought was compliant and appropriate for the end user.

Access and fall protection design is not a one size fits all solution. Acts, Standards and Codes of Practice all come into play and are an integral part of height safety system design. It is therefore imperative that the designer is up to date with all these important requirements. Designs must incorporate systems that are suitable for the job. Specification of incorrect equipment can prove dangerous and lack the sufficient protection for the very workers it aims to safeguard. Similarly if the systems are hard to use workers will not be inclined to utilise them or will use them incorrectly. A complete knowledge of all the systems available and the applications is necessary to ensure a compliant, user friendly design.

At the end of the day ask yourself - do you have the necessary know-how to specify and design these types of systems?

Why not take a quick height safety knowledge quiz to see if you pass?

Falls from height continues to remain the second highest cause of workplace fatality and the necessity for designing correct fall protection systems has never been more vital.

If you are not knowledgeable on what to specify you are risking ill will between yourself and your clients. More importantly, you may be putting workers' lives in danger every time they carry out work at height.

Need help with your height safety system design? Our design experts offer a FREE* design service, guaranteed to provide compliant, user friendly systems. Contact us on 1300 301 755 or design@sayfa.com.au.

*Conditions apply.