Pre-handover Inspection prevents a potential workplace tragedy
A major infrastructure project was nearing completion and Height Dynamics was commissioned to undertake an independent third-party audit on new installations to make sure they met Australian Standard requirements for ‘working at heights’ and installed according to manufacturer specifications.
Height Dynamics quickly identified no less than 13 potentially life-threatening errors were made during the installation of fall arrest systems. These ranged from the incorrect installation of anchor points and static lines to damaged cables and incorrectly specified lanyards.
The most serious error was the use of incorrect cable for the static line terminations. The manufacturer had re-engineered the jaws of these terminations for longterm durability reasons. The change meant that 7x19 cable now had to be used in place of 1 x 19 cable.
The contractor had literally installed kilometres of this non-compliant 1 x 19 cable despite the fact the specified cable size was physically stamped on the side of the terminations! This caused a serious risk of the cable slipping from the termination jaws in the event of a major fall.
In the words of Height Dynamic’s Onsite Services Manager “This was a hopeless installation… complete fail.” While this may sound disastrous, the identification of these serious breaches prior to the infrastructure’s ‘go live’ prevented potentially serious ramifications down the track for the asset owner.
First, it allowed the asset owner to go back to the principal contractor with a list of independently verified rectifications before final payment. More importantly, it meant future workers working on the asset were now properly protected where the consequences of a system failure could be fatal.