Failed life-saving falls equipment

New revelations regarding failed life-saving falls equipment after last night’s ABC 7.30 Report

Media Release

imageIn the wake of last night’s ABC 7.30 Report on falls from height, the Working At Heights Association has a warning: “If you’re counting on a harness attached to an anchor system to save your life when you fall from a roof, you need to know that many roof anchors don’t meet the most basic safety standards.”.

Working At Heights Association (WAHA) secretary Mr Gordon Cadzow said the estimated 350,000 Australians who work at height maintaining buildings face a deadly threat, with as many as 31% of life-saving safety anchors unable to meet the most basic safety standards.

The association, which represents manufacturers and installers of fall prevention equipment, has today revealed dramatic footage of several types of commonly-used roof safety anchors failing “drop tests” in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS5532.

In the tests, 100kg loads dropped through 2 metres tear single-person anchors away from their mounts, while 150kg loads for two-person-use hit the ground, smashing the weights. Only one out of the five anchors tested pass.

“The results are shocking,” says Mr Cadzow. “Hundreds of thousands of plumbers and other Australian tradies stake their lives on this equipment every day while they do routine maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters and servicing air-conditioners. I can’t tell you how traumatic it is to speak with the families of people who’ve been killed after a fall. The association is determined to make a difference.”

Mr Cadzow said WAHA had already met with regulators after audits showed a low level of compliance with safety standards for fixed ladders and anchors. It has begun a fresh round of urgent briefings given the new test results.

“Australia’s rooftops are bristling with anchors unfit for use,” he says. “Until the regulators can take decisive action, WAHA urges workers and employers to demand a report from an accredited lab proving roof anchors pass the basic AS/NZS5532 drop test before they are used.”

The Working At Heights Association recommends concerned workers contact their state regulators for advice and more information is available at http://www.waha.org.au/fall-crisis .

#ENDS#

WAHA secretary Gordon Cadzow and chair Michael Biddle available for interview. Contact: Marian Macdonald, 0421 530 944 or 03 5185 1357

ABC 7.30 Report “The deadly dangers of working at height”: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s3983038.htm

see the ABC story here:

Barry Spud

Barry Spud

Safety Crusader, Zero Harm Zealot and Compliance Controller at Everything Safety
Barry Spud

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Barry Spud
What is a Safety Spud? Lets look at a few more spud head activities in risk and safety: 1. Coming on to site saying there is a safety issue when in fact there’s no such thing, it’s a political issue. 2. ‘Falling apart’ when people make choices that we think are stupid because they won’t do as we ‘tell’ them. Then we put on the angry face and think that overpowering others creates ownership. 3. Putting on the zero harm face, presenting statistics, knowing it has nothing to do with culture, risk or safety. 4. Putting on the superman (hazardman) suit and pretending to be the saviour of everything, this is good spud head cynic stuff. 5. Thinking that everyone else is a spud head except me. 6. Thinking there’s such a thing as ‘common’ sense and using such mythology to blame and label others. 7. Accepting safety policies and processes that dehumanize others. 8. Blaming, ego-seeking, grandstanding and territory protecting behind the mask of safety. 9. Thinking that risk and safety is simple when in fact it is a wicked problem. Denying complexity and putting your spud head in the sand. 10. Continually repeating the nonsense language and discourse of risk aversion that misdirect people about risk, safety, learning and imagination.

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