This Q&A about who is responsible for providing anchor points for safe roof inspections has been answered by Nigel Wraight, Forte Asset Services.
Question: Who is responsible for providing anchor points and safety railings for contractors carrying out maintenance on our roof areas? Is this really up to the owners corporation?
There is confusion among our Strata Committee as to who is responsible for providing anchor points and safety railings for contractors working on our roof areas.
We originally believed that under legislation the onus was on the owners corporation to ensure that any contractors had their own insurances and were trained in all areas of working at heights or were in fact covered by their employer.
There is now some confusion as to whether the owners corporation should be providing anchor points and safety railing and we believe the legislation is not that clear.
How do builders and developers get away with not installing safety devices in the first place?
Answer: Anchors points are required to be installed and maintained by the landlord.
This is a complex discipline. There are a few things to note:
- Anchors points are required to be installed and maintained by the landlord. Allow about $500 – $1000 a year for certification subject to their number
- Don’t Skimp on safety, there is a clause in legislation which says to the effect “thou shall provide all the necessary safety requirements, regardless of cost”
To be direct, none of this will stand if you end up at the Coroner’s court:
- “we didn’t know”,
- “we didn’t have the money”,
- “we were blissfully unaware”
- “we thought it was up to the contractor”
If you answer “no” to any of the following, you may a have a problem waiting to happen:
- Engaged a height safety specialist and obtained their opinion and recommendations
- Had a safety performance audit completed
- Do you check the contractor’s insurances are current
- Do you read and review the Safety systems of the contractor and their “safe work method statements”
- Do you do everything humanly possible, to ensure a safe working environment for your contractors
- Do you have a “House rules” document outlining the do’s and don’ts especially for safety on the site
- Do you have a recording mechanism for reporting any incidents on site, regardless of fault
- Do you have a first aid kit and / or defibrillator easily accessible
- Do you have an induction process when a contractor comes to site
- Do you have a sign in / out book when they come to site (there are many ways to do this via software for un-manned sites with QR codes / GPS etc)
Much of this can be outsourced and / or completed electronically.
How do builders and developers get away with not installing safety devices like anchor points and safety railings in the first place?
- At the time of tender, were the safety devices included?
- If no, should the builder install them, how does the builder know what kind you might want, who is going to pay?
There are a “Rolls Royce” type and brand and a “Kia” type and brand, and they will have to be certified.
It may not be the builder’s fault, but the certifier, or the architect, or the tender writer / proof reader, and so the is list goes on.
Did the Standard or National Construction Code (NCC) call for it at the time of construction? Is it a situation where they are not a necessity, but good industry practice to have?
It’s a complex Pandora’s box. This is why a third party which specialises in height safety is recommended. They know these standards and the NCC back to front.
Have a question about anchor points and safety railings in NSW strata or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
This post appears in Strata News #297.
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