24 Jul Steep fines for ignoring Government Access / Height Legislation
If you require roof repairs – and you have a few hours to spare – the Queensland Government’s “Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011” is a must read.
However, as this document currently runs to 734 pages, please allow R&BS to give you the abridged version, in particular the laws pertaining to Access and Working at Heights.
Basically this law stipulates that ladders must NOT exceed 7.5m in length (therefore a ladder’s safe reach, based on the 4:1 ratio, is 6 metres).
With this in mind, if one has to carry out any building or repair work above 6m, there are 4 options:
1. Access Scaffolding
2. Elevated Work Platforms (EWP)
3. Fixed Access Ladders, and or
4. Roof Hatches
These short term solutions (1 & 2) and long term solutions (3 & 4) have different benefits and disadvantages, but they are all better than a fifth option: non-compliance.
This should not be an option at all because ignoring this law could be financially crippling.
There are massive fines involved in non-compliance for all three parties involved: The Corporation, the Person in Charge of a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) and the individual contractor.
Are you sitting down? Here they are…
Corporation: Up to $1,500,000 fine
Individual as a PCBU or an officer: Up to $300,000 fine
Individual (eg. worker or contractor): Up to $150,000 fine.
We don’t know about you, but if we had to pay that sort of money for roof repairs, we’d really hit the roof… especially when the other solutions are far safer and considerably cheaper.
Diagram of short term, long term and non-recommended solutions for ladder safety.
The pros and cons of Scaffolding and EWPsThe benefit of scaffolding and EWPs is that they can quickly and easily be erected & dismantled, with minimal disturbance to building occupants.
On the downside, they add expense to the initial project cost especially if they need to be temporarily fixed to the building in some way.
Additionally they are only in place for the duration of the project, can’t be used for any future roof access, plus there are potential security issues by providing unauthorised access to roof areas during project.
Still better than paying a huge fine though!
Why Roof Hatches and Fixed Access Ladders are a better long term solution.These permanent fixtures provide safe access to the roof area, for the life of the building, so it’s a one-off investment.
They remove the Building Owners liability to provide a safe area of work for contractors accessing the roof area.
Furthermore, they can be concealed or situated in unseen areas of the building to avoid upsetting the buildings ascetics, and come complete with secure options to prevent unauthorised access to roof areas.
The initial cost will no doubt be higher than short-term options but they may minimally disturb building occupants during installation.
And still better than paying a huge fine!