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Does Every Construction Site Need A Working At Height Permit?

In the construction industry, working at height is a common but hazardous task, necessitating strict safety protocols to protect workers. In Australia, and particularly within New South Wales (NSW), regulations around working at height are stringent, often raising questions about the necessity of a working-at-height permit for every construction site. This article explores the circumstances under which such a permit is required and provides guidance for construction professionals.
Understanding Working At Height Regulations
Working at height refers to any work where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. This includes tasks above ground level, near openings on the ground, or working near edges through which a person could fall. Australian standards and legislation, including the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, outline the requirements for working safely at height.
When Is A Working At Height Permit Required?
High-Risk Work
A working-at-height permit is generally required for high-risk work, which includes tasks where there is a risk of falling more than two meters. Projects involving scaffolding, elevated work platforms, or temporary edges and openings often fall into this category. The permit ensures that all safety measures, including fall arrest systems and personal protective equipment (PPE), are in place before the work commences.

Assessing The Risk
Not every situation where work is conducted at height requires a permit. The need for a permit is determined by a risk assessment carried out by a qualified individual. This assessment considers the height of the work, the duration and frequency, and the nature of the task to determine if it is classified as high-risk work.
Low-Risk Situations
For low-risk tasks, such as minor repairs or maintenance work at a height below two meters, a permit may not be necessary. However, it is crucial that a risk assessment is still conducted, and appropriate safety measures are implemented to ensure worker safety.
Obtaining A Working At Height Permit
For construction sites requiring a working-at-height permit, the process involves submitting a detailed application to the relevant regulatory body or site safety officer. This application must include a risk assessment, a detailed work plan outlining the safety measures in place, and the qualifications of all personnel involved in the task.
Not every construction site will require a working-at-height permit, but understanding when such a permit is necessary is crucial for maintaining a safe working environment. By adhering to the regulatory requirements and conducting thorough risk assessments, construction professionals can ensure the safety of their workers and compliance with Australian safety standards. Always consult with safety experts or regulatory bodies if you are unsure whether your project requires a working-at-height permit.