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Working at height, safety remains high on agenda

By: Stephanie McDonald
02 May, 2011

Sadly never far from the media spotlight, OHS for the building and construction sector continues to be a hot topic.

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) is never far from the spotlight in the building industry, and the deaths last year of insulation installers continues to see work safety at the front of the agenda.
 
For product manufacturers like Snorkel Lifts, the focus on OH&S means increasing the safety features of equipment.
 
"[It also means] improvements in the ease of use and changes to ensure not only efficiency but also aesthetics – improving the appearance of the machines," Janja Dragas at Snorkel Lifts told IndustrySearch.
 
"The increased safety features have been driven by both clients and the industry itself. Clients drive the need for increased safety and statutory industry bodies implement these into industry standards which must be adhered to to operate in Australia."
 
Clients are increasingly expecting more sophisticated products. Due to technological advances, they are more educated and able to access a wide range of information. The internet has allowed clients to research products and compare them in a way which was not previously possible.
 
"Expectations are constantly increasing in terms of both product technology and customer service," Dragas said.
 
Strict regulation goes hand-in-hand with height safety, with Australia one of the most demanding and stringent countries for safety regulations.
 
Mobile elevated work platforms can potentially be life threatening if they are not used or maintained correctly. In July 2010, a scissor lift accident left a rigger with severe injuries after it tipped while the rigger was erecting structural steel.
 
Not only can there be a potential loss of life, but companies can also receive severe penalties for accidents. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 says employers can be fined up to $990,000 and a jail term may also apply if they fail in their duty of care.
 
This means it is important for employers to not only provide the correct safety requirements, but also ensure their equipment is safe.
 
"The elevating work platform industry is a highly regulated one, and the Australian Standards are imposing a new rule whereby all machines made from here on forward will have to have a load sensing device," Dragas said.
 
The Load Sensing will cease the lift from operating if it is loaded over the allowed weight.
 
Lifts should be checked daily and should only be operated by qualified professionals.
 
New regulations by Standards Australia means Snorkel Lifts has a continued focus on ensuring its machines adhere to new laws.
 
"We are constantly working on further increasing safety, improving machine aesthetics and coming up with ways to improve our current product range," Dragas said.
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Frank Milazzo | Sunday, May 8, 2011, 4:05 PM
who receives the fine money and where is it used.