Don’t assume you’re covered – this clause may not protect you!

UPDATED: 28.02.2022

“Provide compliant roof safety system to
Australian Standards”

Architects design of building

Many Architects, Designers and Builders use the above clause in their specifications, in fact, you and your colleagues may put something similar into your paperwork but are you absolutely sure that this covers your responsibility as a building designer?

Under Work Health and Safety laws it is a building designer’s duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that any structure being designed to be used as a workplace will be without risk to the health and safety of persons.

If you are involved in the design of a building it is not recommended to leave the design of critical elements such as height safety to the builder. This may leave you exposed, having not fulfilled your duty of care.

With the introduction of Workplace Manslaughter Laws, Building Owners and Managers can also be found accountable should a fatality occur on one of their buildings. Therefore, as the person responsible for those who will be using the systems, it is equally as important that you know what compliant system designs look like, to ensure you are meeting your Duty of Care. What if one of the systems you commissioned for installation failed due to incorrect design?

A key factor to consider is that consultation and collaboration throughout the design process is a requirement of Australian Work Health and Safety legislation.

If ever there was an accident and it was found that insufficient consideration had been given to the correct design and specification of compliant roof safety systems at design stage, the above clause may not cover you. In legal proceedings, the question that will be asked is – did the designer appropriately address all health and safety risks in the design of the building? This would include height safety, as falls from a height are one of the most common forms of workplace fatalities.

As nationally respected Height Safety Design Consultants and System Manufacturers, SAYFA GROUP work closely with designers and architects on commercial projects all over Australia. We provide a complete FREE* system design, scope of works and cost analysis service taking out the guesswork for you and assisting your regulatory compliance.

Read our whitepaper which sets out in more detail what we do and our comprehensive 5 step process.

Work Health & Safety Strategy

Further information to support the need to take accountability is Safe Work Australia’s Work Health & Safety Strategy. In this document, healthy and safe design has been listed as a the number one key priority in their strategy, with the document reaffirming the need for structures, plant and substances to be designed to “eliminate or minimise hazards and risks before they are introduced into the workplace”. The strategy also states:

“Australian work health and safety legislation requires that all design parties consult, cooperate and coordinate their activities, so far as is reasonably practicable, rather than seeking to transfer or delegate responsibility to others, or assuming that someone else is taking care of a work health and safety matter.”

Architects and builders designing a height safety system for fall protection

It is no longer satisfactory to simply put in a generic clause in the hope that it will cover you and your company, and it would be irresponsible to think that it does. Designers are required to be up to date with Australian WHS laws and to design systems in accordance with them.

Other areas the Work Health & Safety Strategy addresses are the requirements for designers to take into account factors such as product life cycle, safe use and installation. Access for maintenance to air conditioning equipment and lighting systems is additionally highlighted as areas which should be provided for in building design. When designing plant designers should “consider the difficulties workers may face when maintaining or repairing the plant”.

Further information on safe design requirements may be found on the Safe Work Australia website – Safe Design.

So, where to from here?

Why not take advantage of our FREE* design service?  Contact the design team on 1300 301 755 or [email protected] for assistance with your next project.

*This is supplied on the understanding SAYFA systems will be specified and means that your liability for this component of your Safety in Design requirements is mitigated.