Safe Work at Heights

This course aims to provide participants with an understanding of the skills and knowledge to work safely at heights at the AME Marine Support Base Henderson.

A valid Safe Work at Heights competency is a prerequisite for completing this course.


Anchor Point: A secure point of attachment on a structure to which a safety harness or fall restraint/ fall arrest device, or lanyard assembly may be attached.

Competent Person: A person who has, through a combination of training, education and experience, acquired knowledge and skills enabling that person to perfome a specific work task

Fall Injury Prevention System: Systems designed to arrest or prevent a person falling from one level to another.

Safety Harness: A full body harness with a fall arrest attachment point which was manufactured and complies with Australian Standard AS1891.1.

Static Line: A horizontal safety line or rail system to which a lanyard may be attached and which is designed to arrest free fall.

Working at Heights: Work whenever people are at risk of falling from, into, or through, one level to another.

To conduct work at heights AME requires the worker to have a recognised competency in Safe Work at Heights?

  • Yes
  • No

Training and Competency

All work supervisors, Permit to Work issuers,  workers, and anyone who has a responsibility for an area where working at heights is to occur shall be compliant in the correct use of systems for the prevention of falls.

Persons who are exposed to the risk of falls shall:

1. To participate in the risk assessment for the work scope.

2. Know and understand the control measures for fall prevention.

3. Be competent in the use of those control measures

4. Have a current license or certificate of currency to operate any plant being used as a control measure

5. Hold a valid Safe Work at Heights qualification

Can the Work Group participate in the Risk Assessment?

  • Yes. The work group SHALL participate in the risk assessment
  • No. Anyone can do the risk assessment as long as one is done.

Management of Risk

AME has a number of tools to assist workers actively participate in the risk assessment process for work at heights.

1. Work Instruction WI-12 JHA Creation

2. Work Instruction WI-17 Safe Work Method Statements

3. Work Instruction WI-21 Safe Work at Heights

Any one wishing to undertake working at heights MUST have read these Work Instructions.

The Hierarchy of Controls

Elimination – Eliminate the need to access the fall risk area by relocating items of work to the ground.

Substitution – Provide alternative means of access to the work area e.g. walkways and scaffolding.

Isolation –Barricade or enclose the fall risk area so that it cannot be reached.

Engineering – Install fixed handrails, stairways and platforms.

Administration – Control measures for all steps in the work at heights process e.g. JHA, SWMS, training, VOC, signage etc.

PPE -  Is the last resort. Any work at height will require the wearing of safe work at height PPE.

Emergency Planning

Whenever work at heights is planned, planning for an emergency must occur.

The rescue and recovery of a person who has fallen or been injured during the course of work must be documented in the risk management document.

QF-14-06 - Rescue Plan Template is to be used when creating a Rescue Plan.

Untitled text matching question

  • The Preferred Control Measure for Working at Heights is to...
  • The last and lowest form of Control Measure is
  • An anchor point what form of control?

Fall Injury Prevention Systems

The AME Fall Prevention System is designed to first prevent a fall and secondly, to minimise the risk of injuries or harm during a fall. It includes:

Personal Fall Arrest Equipment


* Manufactured to comply with AS1891.1

* Not be older than 10 years

AME Harnesses shall: Have a formal documented inspection performed by a competent person every month and be tagged in accordance with Work Instruction WI-13 Rigging and Lifting.

Anchor Points

Anchor points are used to attach a Fall Arrest Harnesses worn by a person via a connecting lanyard. Anchor points used in a Fall Injury Arrest System (FIPS) shall withstand the force of the load if a person was to fall.

Static Lines

Static lines are used where a range of movement is required in one direction. Static lines can be used as anchor points for either fall restraint or fall arrest equipment.


Lanyards are used to connect persons who are wearing either fall restraint or arrest equipment to an anchor point. There are several types, being fixed length, shock absorbing and inertia reel retractable.

Inertia Reel Arrest Lanyards

Inertia reel arrest lanyards range in size and type from the short fibre to the longer retracting wire type. They are particularly suitable where good flexibility in a working area is required. They are advantageous where persons climb up and down a structure as part of their work tasks.

Safety Climbing Systems

 Safety climbing systems are essentially a vertical static line or rail that runs up the middle of the ladder or tower. They are generally used on long fixed ladders on items such as stacks and drill rigs

Fall Arrest

Fall Arrest may:

Only be used when all other control measures have been explored and deemed inappropriate.

Consist of a full body harness connected to an anchor point via either a retractable, adjustable or fixed length lanyard fitted with a shock absorber.

Fall arrest equipment can only be effective if the height to the level below is greater than the sum of the:

1. Length of the person.

2. Plus, the length of the lanyard

3. Plus, the expanded length of the shock absorber

4. Plus, a safety margin of at least 1 metre.

What elements comprise a Fall Arrest System?

  • Harness that complies with AS1891.1
  • Anchor Point
  • Lanyard
  • All of the above

A Fall Prevention Harness may be older than 10 years?

  • No. Ten Years is the Maximum Allowed
  • Yes. You can use a harness until it falls apart.

Dropped Objects

Dropped Objects

Never throw any objects, tools or materials between levels. Control measures shall be in place to prevent objects from falling and causing injury or damage. Such controls include, but are not limited to:

Containment sheeting.

Toe boards.

Tool lanyards and wrist straps.

Lift boxes.

Loads secured to cranes and hoists.

Catch platforms or safety nets under the job.


Barricading and DROPS (Impact) Zones.

Signage “People Working Above”.

Using suitable containers for storage of off cuts, welding rods, nuts and bolts.

Which answer is NOT a control for Dropped Object

  • Gantries.
  • Barricading and Impact Zones.
  • Signage “People Working Above”.
  • Fixed Anchor Point

Access Equipment

Work Platforms

Work platforms position personnel and equipment so that work can occur safely. Platforms may be either permanent or temporary. 

Specific requirements for work platforms are in Work Instruction WI-11 Mobile Plant. Specific requirements for scaffold are in Work Instruction WI-24 Scaffolding.

Equipment used to access work platforms (ladders, portable stands etc.) may be either temporary or permanent. Access equipment should not be used as a work platform.


Ladders and access equipment include fixed ladders and stairways, temporary ladders to scaffolding, portable stands and portable ladders in general.

The first question to ask is - Can the job be done more safely in a different way? 

A ladder is a simple, versatile and relatively inexpensive piece of equipment. The temptation therefore is to use it for all sorts of work without considering whether the risk warrants an alternative method.

Ladders are generally accepted as a last resort means of access and egress.

Factors which have a bearing on whether ladders are appropriate are:

1. Whether the ladder can be securely fixed against slipping outwards or sideways;

2. The conditions on the site e.g. exposure, weather, movement of persons or vehicles;

3. Whether the user has a safe handhold and is close enough to the work;

4. Whether the ladder is so long or so flexible that sway and vibration could cause loss of balance;

5. The ability, training and experience of the users;

6. The strength, the surface condition and the type of structure against which the ladder is to rest;

7. The nature of the work and the type of tools required and the weight of article to be fixed.

Fixed and vertical ladders.

All fixed ladders and stairways shall be designed and constructed to ensure safe work practices can be maintained.

* Fixed ladders shall be regularly inspected.

* Persons using fixed ladders shall:

* Visually check the condition of the ladder prior to climbing and continuously check its condition whilst climbing it.

* Maintain three points of contact whilst climbing.

* Ensure that materials are lifted and lowered in an approved manner.

Temporary Ladders to Scaffolding

 Temporary ladders used to access scaffolding shall be securely attached to the scaffolding in order to prevent persons using the ladder in any other location. Persons shall only access scaffolding using such a ladder and shall not either climb up the side of the scaffolding or lean a portable ladder against the scaffolding to gain access.

Portable Ladders

Any ladder that is capable of being transferred from one location to another shall be considered a portable ladder. 

All portable ladders shall be designed and constructed to meet AS/NZS 1892.

Persons using a portable ladder shall:

1. A ladder should be used only for the load and purpose for which it is designed.

2. Inspect the ladder prior to use. Paying special attention to the condition of the ladders feet, checking for any flex or bend in the vertical supports (stiles), check the condition of the rungs, and look for any damage that may affect the safe use of the ladder. Any faulty ladders shall be tagged “Out of Service”.

3. Ensure that the ladder will be positioned on a level and firm ground that is capable of holding the weight of the ladder and the person climbing on it.

4. Ensure that the top two rungs extend beyond the point of contact at the top of the ladder (0.9m overhang).

5. When either a single or extension ladder is used, on first climbing the ladder it shall be footed by another person and the ladder shall be tied off at the top prior to any other task being performed.

6. The persons using the ladder shall maintain three (3) points of contact when climbing.

7. Never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder.

8. Remain within the vertical supports of the ladder i.e. do not reach out beyond arms reach while remaining within the vertical supports.

9. Items shall not be carried up or down a ladder unless carried in a hands free carry bag.

10. Items of excessive weight shall not be carried up or down a ladder.

11. Any item carried up or down the ladder must not affect the balance of the person using the ladder.

12. Consideration should be given to the use of a rope or other suitable means to haul up tools and equipment.

13. Ensure that the metal spreader bar is locked into position on a step ladder prior to using it, or that the rung lock is in place on an extension ladder.

14. Ensure that the correct lean angle is achieved for single and extension ladders by ensuring that the height of the ladder is not more than 4 times the distance from the foot of the ladder to the edge it is leaning on, e.g. about 1m out of every 4m in height. (4:1 Ratio).

Safe use of Step Ladders

Safe Use Of Step Ladders

Step ladders and trestles are not designed for any degree of side loading and this should be avoided; they should be spread to their fullest extent and properly levelled for stability and should be placed at right angles to the work whenever possible, on a level surface.

Portable Stands

Portable stands shall be designed and purpose built to an appropriate engineering standard. 

Prior to using a portable stand a risk assessment shall be conducted and consider factors such as the height and size of the stand as well as the ground and access to the stand.

Where a portable stand is fitted with wheels, the wheels shall be locked whenever the stand is being used. 

The stand shall only be used on a suitable surface capable of supporting the wheel loadings.


Ladders and access equipment shall have maintenance schedules

AME Ladders and access equipment 

Shall be maintenance in PMS (QR-21 – Planned Maintenance Schedule) for periodic inspections to ensure that they remain in adequate condition to perform their intended task. The frequency of the inspections shall be determined by:

1. The work environment that they are exposed to.

2. The frequency of their use.

3. The work load that they are exposed to.

What is the correct ratio for placing a ladder at an angle?

  • 3:2
  • 4:2
  • 1:2
  • 4:1

Can a ladder be used for access?

  • Yes. Only as a last resort
  • No.
  • Yes.

Mobile Plant for Working at Heights

Elevated Work Platforms

Persons using such equipment shall:

1. Be trained and assessed as competent to use it.

2. Conduct a daily pre-start inspection of the machine and log the results in either the machine logbook or equipment pre-start book. If the machine is found to be faulty, then it shall be tagged “Out of Service”.

3. Use it for its designated purpose and within its designed operating limits of both reach and weight carrying capacity.

4.For all EWP’s a Fall Arrest Harness shall be worn at all times.

5. Travel in the raised basket only allowed at creep speed.

6. Travel in lowered basket allowed at normal speed.

7. Not accessing or exiting any platform or basket while it is in the raised position, unless no other safe access exists, the person holds a valid working at heights competency and only after completing a JHA and obtaining a PTW.

8. Comply with area restrictions for the operation of the equipment regarding slope and condition of ground.

9. Only stand within the basket or on the floor of the platform and not on handrails, ladders, scaffolding or boxes in order to gain extra height.

10. Use an acknowledged signalling system between the person in the elevated basket or platform and the spotter.

11. Ensure that where attachments fit to items of mobile plant that:

a) Only the correct machine / attachment arrangement is used.

b) The attachment is secured and will not accidentally disconnect while the platform is in service.

c) AME has an engineered and manufactured attachment (certified work cage).

d) Whilst persons are not to be in the work cage while being transported so they cannot be ejected.

AME Guidance Material

AME Work Instruction WI-11 Mobile Plant provides guidance on the safe use of Elevated Work Platforms.

True or False: A Fall Arrest Harness shall be worn at all times

  • True
  • False