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DSC1312

Proprietary System, or Permanent Anchors?

Product Safety Recall

DBI-SALA Lad-Saf™ Sleeve

Affected part numbers: 6100016, 6116500, 6116501, 6116502, 6116503, 6116504, 6116505, 6116506, 6116507, 6116509, 6116512, 6116535, 6116540, 6116541, 6116542, 6116500C, 6116500SM, 6116507/A, 6116540b, L3330, L3330-WEB-38, L3330-WEB-45, 6116540-45, Z4A-L3330-45, Z4A-L3330, L3330-N-EDI

Date range for sale: 
1995 – 30 September 2016

Defect: 
The Lad-Saf sleeve has potential to be misused under scenarios which include interference with the braking mechanism (such as entanglement with cords, lanyards, clothing or other materials, or grasping the sleeve prior to or during a fall), or the user attaching the sleeve upside down (user inversion). No safety regulator has made a finding that the design of the Lad-Saf sleeve has caused injury or death in the ordinary or proper use of the product.

Hazard: 
Although our review did not reveal product hazard or risk scenarios that would arise in the ordinary and proper use of the product, it did reveal potential misuse scenarios that could result in serious injury or death. What to do: 
1. Immediately stop using and quarantine all original Lad-Saf sleeves. 
2. Contact PBI Height Safety to arrange return of units and discuss the replacement of your returned units with an X3+ sleeve, depending on your needs, at no cost to you. If you do not wish to receive a replacement X3+ sleeve, your place of purchase will offer you a refund.

Contact:
PBI Height Safety Ltd
Ph +64 3 357 0093
Freephone 0800 357 003
sales@pbiheightsafety.com

 

Product recall notice

 

TAKE CARE- MISLEADING INFORMATION IN THE MARKETPLACE.

PBI Height Safety specifies and installs engineered safety systems and anchors that are fully compliant with AS/NZS 1891:2:2007, AS/NZS 1891.4:2009, new anchor standard AS/NZS 5532:2013 and AS/NZS4488.1:1997, and as outlined in 'Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand'  and  'Industrial Rope Access in New Zealand: Best Practice Guidelines'.

It is important to understand the difference between the work at height techniques and how these relate to the type of work required on a structure, and therefore relate back to the type of installed system required. Techniques/ applications include; 'Fall Arrest', 'Fall Restraint' and 'Industrial Rope Access (Abseil)'. 

We understand the height safety industry with its specific requirements relating to structure, engineering and installation. PBI is the trained and certified specifier and installer of  international brands including; Capital Safety DBI/Sala, Roofsafe, Unirail, Evolution, Ariana, Rigid Lifelines, Skylotec, Skytac and Highstep. Capital Safety is the largest height safety company globally. As required by the manufacturers,  PBI is the certified company both for installaton & annual recertification of these systems nationwide. PBI specifies and installs both Permanent Anchors and Proprietary Systems, working closely with the client to provide the total height safety solution to satisfy the needs and activities of workers on each building or structure, and meeting New Zealand compliance guidelines and Worksafe requirements.

Recently, some other players in the market are confusing the 'Best Practice' guidelines and by mis-quoting these guidelines and AS/NZS 1891 Standards, have suggested that surface mounted anchors which are an inclusive as part of a Prescribed or Proprietary System, do not comply with safety standards. This is incorrect,  and is a clever fallacy- merely a way to further those companies' own best interests of increasing sales of their structurally mounted anchors. 

  • What is an Anchor Point? A Permanent Anchor is a single fixed anchor point, which can be used as a Fall Arrest or Abseil anchorage, and has been designed, engineered and installed for this purpose as per AS/NZS 1891:4 and AS/NZS 5532:2013 Anchor points may be surface or structurally mounted but must be engineered to AS/NZS 1891:4 & AS/NZS 5532:2013 as outlined below. Note; Abseil requires a second anchor attachment point for a back-up safety rope.
  • What is a Proprietary System? A Proprietary System designed and engineered by the manufacturer  in accordance with AS/NZS 1891:2 and is specified for use as a Fall Arrest/Fall Restraint system, giving freedom of movement to the worker along its length (either horizontal or vertical mounted) However, as an enhanced option, some Proprietary Systems are also engineered to include Abseil anchorage standards where this is appropriate. The Proprietary System may or may not be surface mounted, but must be engineered to AS/NZS 1891:2 as outlined below. A Proprietary System for Fall Arrest as outlined in AS/NZS 1891:2 has no legal requirement to be both a Fall Arrest system and an Abseil attachment point. 
  • Do I need Abseil rated line systems and anchors? An Abseil rated track or rail (surface mounted or otherwise) is only required for the actual purpose of abseil/rope access, where the worker is suspended vertically (eg hanging) on a rope to access fascades, windows etc. However, all individual anchor points are rated for both fall arrest and abseil.
  • Do I need abseil anchorage system for working on roofs? No.Working on top of a roof using a 2m lanyard or adjustable ropeline which is attached to a Proprietary Fall Arrest System, does not constitute Abseil. The correct term for these applications is 'Fall Arrest ' and 'Fall Restraint' technique:  all PBI Fall Arrest/Fall Restraint lines can be used with total compliance for 'Fall Retraint' and 'Fall Arrest'.
  • Do Anchors have to be structurally mounted? No. There is a wide range of anchors available, some which are certified for surface fixing and some that are only for structural mounting. Various factors will determine which anchor type is best, including cladding/roofing material, structure, environment, activities undertaken, time/access constraints, waterproofing requirements and aesthetics, with all anchor types meeting AS/NZS 1891.4 and AS/NZS 5532:2013.  PBI will advise which options are best for your application and work activities.
  • How do I know if my structures needs a Fall Arrest system or full Abseil anchorage? It depends on the application and activities that are required to be done on the structure. PBI will always determine during the consultancy process if abseil is required.  Unless workers must hang freely on ropes in total suspension or due to the steep slope of the roof and are placing their full body weight onto the line system (work positioning),  there is no legal requirement for Abseil rated anchors or rail/track systems on every structure. Proprietary Fall Arrest systems are perfectly adequate and of course are a more cost effective height safety solution for the typical maintenance activities undertaken (such as gutter cleaning, plant maintenance) on many building and structures in NZ.
  • Can I Abseil from one anchor point? No. Abseil requires a second rope attached to a separate rated anchor point as a safety backup. This applies to any anchor point on any structure, not just PBI installed anchors.
  • Is there better ways I can spend my money than replacing my totally compliant PBI safety installation with another structurally fitted cumbersome system that is also disruptive to install? Absolutely. Tell the company that has illegally disqualified your PBI safety line system to leave your property, and then book yourself a relaxing holiday somewhere exotic. This will cost you a lot less than the cost of replacing out your totally compliant PBI system.

To quote from 'Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand' page 25;

DOL 12048 APR 12
Best practice guidelines
for working at height in
New Zealand
APRIL 2012
2
1. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)  
Hikina – Whakatutuki  Lifting to make successful
MBIE develops and delivers policy, services, advice and regulation to support economic growth and the
prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
MBIE combines the former Ministries of Economic Development, Science + Innovation, and the 
Departments of Labour, and Building and Housing.
1. More information
1. www.mbie.govt.nz
1. 0800 20 90 20
1.1 Disclaimer
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
has made every effort to ensure that the information
contained in this publication is reliable, but makes no
guarantee of its completeness. 
The Ministry may change the contents of this guideline
at any time without notice.
ISBN
978-0-478-40188-2 (online)
September 2012
©Crown Copyright 2013
The material contained in this report is subject to Crown copyright protection
unless otherwise indicated. The Crown copyright protected material may be
reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific
permission. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and
not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Where the
material is being published or issued to others, the source and copyright
status should be acknowledged. The permission to reproduce Crown copyright
protected material does not extend to any material in this report that is
identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce
such material should be obtained from the copyright holders.
Information, examples and answers to your
questions about the topics covered here can
be found on our website www.mbie.govt.nz or by
calling us free on 0800 20 90 20.
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALANDMINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Acknowledgement 
These Best Practice Guidelines are published
by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Employment and have been prepared in
association with industry representatives
involved in working at height. The purpose of
these guidelines is to provide practical guidance
to employers, contractors, employees and all
others engaged in work associated with working
at height on how they can meet their obligations
under the Health and Safety in Employment Act
1992 and its associated Regulations. Accordingly,
adherence to these Best Practice Guidelines is
recommended.
It has been prepared in consultation with:
 › Acrow Ltd
 › Association of Wall and Ceiling 
Industries of New Zealand
 › Certified Builders Association of 
New Zealand
 › Crane Association of New Zealand
 › Elevating Work Platform
Association of New Zealand
 › Fletcher Construction Company Ltd
 › Height Safety Association of New 
Zealand
 › Hire Industry Association of New 
Zealand
 › Industrial Rope Access Association 
of New Zealand
 › Registered Master Builders 
Federation
 › Master Painters New Zealand
 › Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & 
Drainlayers NZ
 › New Zealand Specialist Trade 
Contractors’ Federation
 › New Zealand Contractors’ 
Federation
 › New Zealand Demolition and 
Asbestos Association
 › New Zealand Safety Council
 › Roofing Association of New Zealand
 › Scaffolding and Rigging New 
Zealand Inc.
 › Site Safe NZ Inc
 › SKY Television Ltd
 › Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety 
NZ Ltd  
This guidance ‘contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety
Executive (UK) and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0’.
This guidance also includes material from Worksafe Victoria (Australia).
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
3
4
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Contents
1 Introduction and context ....................................................................................6
2 Purpose ....................................................................................................................8
3 Scope and application ...........................................................................................8
4 Work plan .................................................................................................................9
5 Elimination controls for height hazards ........................................................12
6 Isolation and minimisation controls for height hazards ............................13
6.1 Scaffolding................................................................................................................. 13
6.2 Edge protection ....................................................................................................... 15
6.3 Mechanical access plant .......................................................................................17
6.4 Safety mesh .............................................................................................................. 19
6.5 Harness systems .....................................................................................................20
6.6 Temporary work platforms (TWPs) ................................................................26
6.7 Catch platforms ......................................................................................................28
6.8 Soft landing systems (SLSs) .............................................................................29
6.9 Safety nets ................................................................................................................29
6.10 Fixed roof ladders and crawl boards .............................................................29
6.11 Ladders, stepladders, and means of access ..............................................29
7 Other hazards that can impact on working at height ............................... 34
8 Duty holder responsibilities ............................................................................. 38
8.1 Legislative framework .......................................................................................... 41
8.2 Definitions .................................................................................................................. 41
8.3 Emergencies ..............................................................................................................48
8.4 Emergency rescue plan  .......................................................................................49
8.5 General emergency checklist ............................................................................ 51
8.6 Notification of particular hazardous work .................................................52
8.7 Notifiable work as defined by the Regulations .........................................52
8.8 Task analysis examples .........................................................................................53
8.9 Publications ............................................................................................................... 57
8.10 List of illustrations .................................................................................................60
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT
5
1. Introduction and context
6
Preventing falls from height is a priority for the
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 
and it expects that work at height is actively
managed so that people are not harmed. 
Investigations by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment into falls
while working at height show that more than 50 percent of falls are from less than
three metres and approximately 70 percent of falls are from ladders and roofs.
The cost of these falls is estimated to be $24 million a year—to say nothing of the
human cost as a result of these falls. 
Factors contributing to injuries sustained from working at height include:
 › lack of or inadequate planning and hazard assessment
 › inadequate supervision
 › insufficient training for the task being carried out
 › incorrect protection or equipment choices
 › incorrect use or set-up of equipment including personal protective equipment
 › unwillingness to change the way a task is carried out when a safer alternative is 
identified
 › suitable equipment being unavailable.
More injuries happen on residential building sites than any other workplace in the
construction sector. 
In 2012 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment initiated a targeted
harm reduction programme to address the issue through the Preventing Falls from
Height Project. These guidelines are a critical element of the programme and will
give all who are involved with working at height clear direction on how to manage the
work in a way that will bring down the death and injury toll.
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (the HSE Act) sets out the
performance required of duty holders. People with a duty must take all practicable
steps to ensure the safety of workers when they are exposed to a fall or where the
hazard of a fall exists.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Where the potential of a fall exists, the following simple hierarchy of controls shall
be considered by duty holders:
1. Can the job can be done without exposing persons to the hazard (eliminate).
This can often be achieved at the design, construction planning and tendering
stages. 
2. If elimination is not practicable then steps should be taken to isolate people
from the hazard. This can be achieved using safe working platforms, guardrail
systems, edge protection, scaffolding, elevated work platforms, mobile
scaffolds and barriers to restrict access.
3. If neither elimination nor isolation are practicable then steps should be taken
to minimise the likelihood of any harm resulting. This means considering the
use of work positioning systems or travel restraint systems, safety harnesses,
industrial rope access systems and soft landing systems.
The Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand is a generic guide
that is not industry-specific. Many industries have their own guidelines that address 
the specific issues which are unique to their working environments, for example, the 
electricity sector. These also should be considered.
A hazard assessment shall be carried out for all work at height. It is essential 
that the hazards are identified before the work starts and that the necessary
equipment, appropriate precautions and systems of work are provided and
implemented.
Doing nothing is not an option.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 1: A worker restrained in
boom-style elevating work platform
(EWP).
7
2. Purpose
8
The Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height
in New Zealand provide health and safety guidance
to all people working at height and those involved
in the planning and preparatory stages of any
project that includes work at height. 
These guidelines also outline how people working at height and those involved in the
process can meet their obligations under the HSE Act and the Health and Safety in
Employment Regulations 1995 (HSE Regulations). These guidelines and adherence to
them may be relevant as evidence in a court.
The guidelines apply to all people who have a duty (legal obligation) to provide a safe
place of work and ensure safe work practice. A list of duty holders (pursuant to the
HSE Act) is in section 8 of these guidelines.
Further information about working at height which supplements these guidelines
is available on the Preventing Falls from Height page on the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment Labour Information website (www.dol.govt.nz/
prevent-falls/).
These guidelines outline best practice methods for assessing the hazard of working
at height and the control methods for preventing falls.
3. Scope and application
Work at height means working in a place where a
person could be injured if they fell from one level to
another. This can be above or below ground level.
Work at height does not include slipping, tripping or falling at the same level.
In these guidelines the terms “shall” and “should” are used. “Shall” is used where 
there is a requirement to meet legal obligations. “Should” is used as a way of 
indicating the practicable steps the Ministry expects to be taken on a particular 
matter.
■■ Regulation 21 
Regulation 21 of the HSE Regulations is the source of the often-quoted “threemetre
rule”. It is mistakenly believed that no controls are needed where a person
faces
a fall of less than three metres. That belief is wrong and ignores the
overarching
duties in the HSE Act.
The HSE Act requires that if there is a potential for a person at work to fall from
any height, reasonable and practicable steps must be taken to prevent harm from
resulting.
Doing nothing is not an option.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
■■ Short duration height work
Short duration work at height shall be treated the same way as any other activity at 
height. Appropriate fall prevention controls shall be put in place, regardless of the
time duration of the task. 
Short duration work means work that lasts minutes rather than hours. It may not
be reasonably practicable to provide full edge protection for short duration work
but it still needs to be considered during the assessment of hazards and should not
be discounted.
4. Work plan
Too many falls from height are caused by a failure
to plan and organise work properly. Start by
planning a safe approach.
Planning safe working at height means:
 › identifying the hazards
 › assessing the hazards
 › controlling the hazards
 › monitoring your approach
 › documenting your approach.
■■ Identify the hazards
Identify any hazards of working at height where someone could fall. Four ways of 
identifying hazards are:
1. Physical inspections—walk around the workplace using a checklist to identify 
and manage hazards.
2. Task analysis—identify the hazards involved in each task of the job.
3. Process analysis—identify hazards at each stage of the production or service 
delivery process.
4. Analysis of accident investigation—identify hazards and causal factors from 
investigations involving similar types of work.
■■ Assess the hazards
Decide if the identified hazards are significant. How badly harmed someone would 
be if they fell and how likely a fall could be? If serious harm could result, then it’s a
significant hazard.
■■ Control the hazard
Now keep people safe from the identified significant hazards.
Select the best work method to eliminate, isolate or minimise (in that order) the 
potential for harm resulting from the significant hazard.
A combination of controls may need to be used to control the hazard. However, 
eliminating the hazard is the best option. But remember, doing nothing is not an
option.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
9
 › Can the hazard of working at height be eliminated?
 – Could long-handled tools be used from ground level?
 – Could structures be built at ground level and lifted into position on 
10
completion?
 › Can the hazard of working at height be isolated?
 – Could edge protection be used?
 – Could a guard-railed work platform (eg, scaffold or elevating work 
platforms) be used?
 – Could a total restraint system be used to prevent a fall occurring? 
 › Can the distance and impact of the fall be minimised? Only take this step when
elimination and isolation options have been exhausted.
 – Could a fall arrest system be used?
 – Could nets or air bags be used to minimise the impact of a fall? 
Where unguarded trestles or platforms are used, or the work will be done from a
ladder or stilts, the risk of harm shall be minimised through management controls 
and the provision of appropriate training. Management controls include effective 
housekeeping protocols and clear procedures for safe use of the equipment.
Group controls versus personal controls
As well as the hierarchy of controls, think about the controls that protect multiple 
people from falling. These are group controls. The best work methods are those
that don’t require any active judgement by the workers to keep themselves safe,
such as edge protection, scaffold, and elevating work platforms.
Personal controls only look after individuals and rely on active judgement by the
user for them to work safely (eg, fall restraint harness and fall arrest). Training,
inspection and equipment maintenance are critical for these personal control
measures to be effective.
■■ How to select the right equipment
Figure 2 provides assistance for selecting the best equipment for keeping people 
safe at height. This figure steps through a comprehensive range of possible
controls, starting with the most effective – elimination, and then working through
isolation and minimisation.
As each control is assessed, it is practical to consider the following:
 › Working conditions 
Slopes, poor ground, obstructions and traffic can determine the choice of work 
equipment. For example, an elevating work platform (EWP) could reach over bad
ground or obstructions as long as its stability was not compromised. An EWP
may be preferable to a tower scaffold in such circumstances.
 › Distance to be negotiated for access and egress 
Ladders are likely to be less suitable for higher access. 
 › Distance and consequences of a fall 
A fall arrest system would be ineffective if the deployment length was greater
than the fall height. The user would hit the floor before the system could deploy.
 › Duration and frequency of use 
Long-duration, higher frequency work justifies a higher standard of fall
protection, eg, a tower scaffold rather than a ladder. However, a ladder may be
justified for short duration low-risk repetitive work. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
DESIRABLE
UNDESIRABLE
Figure 2: The selection of work equipment linked to hierarchy of controls.
 › Rescue
If rescue from a deployed fall arrest system is going to be difficult, choose 
other work equipment, eg, an EWP.
 › Additional risk posed by the installation and removal of work equipment  
An EWP used by one person may entail less risk than exposing two or three
people to erect a tower or scaffold for the one person to work safely. 
■■ Monitoring the approach to working at height safely
The approach should be constantly assessed to ensure it is effective and fit 
for purpose. This could mean carrying out regular inspections of the control
measures, discussing the control measures at tool box talks and site meetings with
contractors, and actively supervising the work.
■■ Document the approach to working at height safely
A good record of the planning process and communications with clients, 
contractors, workers, and other site visitors should be maintained.
ELIMINATE 
 WORK EQUIPMENT GROUP CONTROL MEASURES PERSONAL CONTROL MEASURES
ISOLATES the height hazard
MINIMISES height and 
the consequence of the  
height hazard
MINIMISES the consequence 
of the height hazard
MINIMISES through
management controls
Eliminate the height hazard by avoiding work at height if you can.
If you don’t need to go up there, don’t! For example, by assembly at ground level.
edge protection systems, 
barriers, scaffolding, guardrails,
multi user MEWP, safety mesh
safety nets at high level, 
soft landing systems
safety nets at low level (<6m), 
remote soft landing systems
trestles, hop-up trestles, platforms
1. A total restraint system prevents the wearer from being exposed to a height hazard. Because a harness is classified
as personal protective equipment it is treated as minimisation. In the order of desirability in fall prevention, it features
higher than other minimisation methods.
, single user MEWP,
platform (podium) ladder, 
total restraint system
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
1
mobile guarding system, man cages
work positioning systems, 
industrial rope access, fall arrest system
life jackets, inflating air suits
ladders, stepladders, stilts 
11
5. Elimination controls for height
hazards
12
The best method of hazard control is eliminating
the potential of a fall. 
Consideration of elimination controls should occur early in the project development
stage in order to allow necessary design, planning and coordination. Eliminating the
potential of a fall can be achieved through:
 › safer design
 › using alternative construction methods
 › using specific tools and equipment.
■■ Safer design: 
Examples of safer design include:
 › use of low-maintenance building materials
 › locating air conditioning and similar plant at ground level
 › installing walkways with handrails
 › having permanent guardrails or other forms of edge protection, for example 
parapet walls.
■■ Using alternative construction methods:
Examples of alternative construction methods include:
 › prefabricating wall frames horizontally before standing them up
 › using precast tilt-up concrete construction instead of concrete walls 
constructed in situ
 › prefabricating structures on the ground or before installation and lifting them 
into position
 › pre-painting fixtures/roofs before installation
 › installing and maintaining antennae and satellite dishes or air conditioning in 
areas other than at height.
■■ Use of tools and equipment:
Examples of tools and equipment include using long-handled tools, such as paint 
rollers or window brushes with extendable handles, thereby eliminating the need to
work from a ladder.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
6. Isolation and minimisation
controls for height hazards
This section outlines a range of controls to
isolate or minimise the potential for harm
resulting from a fall. The preferred approach is to
apply group controls that isolate multiple workers
from the risk of falling. 
Examples of group controls are:
 › scaffolding
 › edge protection
 › mechanical access plant
 › safety mesh.
Controls such as harness systems and temporary work platforms provide a lesser
form of protection, and should only be considered when group controls are not
practicable.
6.1 Scaffolding
Scaffolds are a common way to provide a safe work platform. There are a wide
variety of scaffolding systems available. 
All scaffolds should comply with the Scaffolding, Access & Rigging New Zealand
(SARNZ) Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand or equivalent
guidelines or a higher standard.
All scaffolds should be erected, altered and dismantled by persons who have been
trained and have suitable experience with the type of scaffolding being used.
All scaffolds from which a person or object could fall more than five metres, as well
as all suspended scaffolds, should be erected, altered and dismantled by or under
the direct supervision of a person with an appropriate Certificate of Competency.
This work must be notified to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 
as particularly hazardous work. A scaffold register should be kept on site as a 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 3: Covered
scaffolding on a single
storey building.
13
Figure 4: Scaffolding on a
residential building.
Figure 5: Scaffolding on a multistorey
building.
record of regular inspection. More information about Notification of Particular
Hazardous Work can be found in section 8.6.
14
All scaffolds shall be supplied with adequate information for the scaffold user, such
as a scaffold tag or handover certificate. The information supplied shall include:
 › its intended use
 › safe working load
 › dates of inspections (as applicable—the scaffold provider can advise the 
frequency of these dates)
 › manufacturer’s instructions for assembly
 › any special conditions and limitations.
If a scaffold has been altered, modified, tampered with and/or appears to be
unsafe, the scaffold shall not be used until it has been checked and certified as
safe by a competent person as outlined in the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for
Scaffolding in New Zealand.
Where work is performed using mobile scaffolds, employers should ensure that 
workers understand that the scaffold should:
 › be erected by a competent person and used in accordance to the
manufacturer’s specifications
 › remain level and plumb at all times
 › be kept at least one metre from open floor edges and openings unless the edge 
is protected to prevent the scaffold tipping
 › never be accessed until all the castors are locked to prevent movement
 › never be moved while anyone is on it
 › be clear from overhead powerlines.
Scaffolds must have:
 › the height to the top-most platform not greater than three times the minimum 
base dimension
 › safe access
 › stable foundations
 › stable and safe work platforms and enough room to work.
Where a scaffold is used as a means of protecting people working on a roof, it
is preferred that the scaffold is set up in a manner that prevents a fall from
occurring, regardless of the distance of the fall. 
For further information on the safe selection, erection and use of scaffolds,
including suspended work platforms, refer to the AS/NZS 1576.1 – 6 Scaffolding
Series, and SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
6.2 Edge protection
Edge protection is used to prevent persons, objects or materials from falling. Areas
where the likelihood of a fall exists and edge protection should be used include:
 › perimeters of working places
 › openings 
 › where there is brittle material that cannot safely support the weight of a
person. 
Edge protection may be temporary, for example during the course of construction.
It may also be used in completed buildings, for example a permanent balustrade
preventing a fall from a mezzanine floor.
Edge protection may involve:
 › a proprietary (engineered) system
 › materials to form a guardrail and/or physical barriers
 › erected scaffolding that supports a temporary edge-protection system
 › a combination of solutions.
■■ Integrity of the edge protection
Ensure edge protection is:
 › erected, used and maintained in accordance with its design information
 › regularly inspected by a competent person
 › inspected after a storm or other occurrence that could affect its purpose to
prevent falls
 › free of any defects before use.
Reduce the gap to 100 mm
or less from gutter where
practicable. Maximum
permissible 200 mm from
guttering to guardrails
Guardrail within 200 mm
of roof projection
Note: A dogleg brace can
be used to stabilise the
extended standard
Figure 6: Scaffolding
used as edge protection
on a roof.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 7: Example of edge
protection on a roof of a
residential home.
15
■■ Erecting edge protection
Persons erecting edge protection could potentially be exposed to the hazard of 
16
working at height until the installation is completed. Pre-planning, such as a task
analysis and a hazard analysis, will identify the hazards involved and which controls
can be implemented to prevent harm during the erection process. Installation
workers must have hazard controls in place.
■■ Guardrails
A guardrail is a barrier that is capable of physically preventing workers from falling. 
Guardrails are a group control that can be installed to protect workers from
building edges, roof edges, building openings, lift shafts and other similar ducts with
wall or floor openings.
A guardrail must be constructed to withstand the forces that are likely to be
applied to it during as a result of the work. Temporary guardrails should generally be
constructed using a proprietary metal tube and clip system. 
General guardrail systems shall be between 900 mm and 1100 mm in height with a 
single mid rail located halfway between the work platform and the top rail. If there 
is a potential for tools or objects to be dropped during work a toe board should also
be installed. Refer to the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New
Zealand.
Guardrail systems that are installed to protect an edge of a sloping roof surface
have specific design requirements because of the increased potential for workers
to fall against them and the potential for a person to slip under the mid rail.
Guardrail systems for sloping roofs shall be configured to prevent a worker sliding
between the roof surface and the rails. It is important that such systems are
installed by a competent person. For guidance on the configuration of such edgeprotection
systems refer to the standard AS/NZS
4994.2:2009 Temporary edge
protection
– Roof edge protection – Installation and dismantling.
If the slope of the roof exceeds 25 degrees, a roof ladder should be used in addition
to perimeter guardrails (or a harness system) to reduce the likelihood of worker
slipping. 
Floor openings may also be protected by a fit-for-purpose, fully decked working
platform. Work inside of shafts should, when practicable, be undertaken from a fully
decked working platform; if this is not practicable, a harness system shall be used.
Barriers to restrict access (also known as bump rails)
Barriers should be used to cordon off elevated areas including roofs, balconies 
and open excavations where edge protection is not provided and people are not
permitted access. The barriers should be secure and with access restricted to
authorised people only. Signs should warn against entry to a cordoned-off area.
Barriers should be placed at least two metres in from any unprotected edge or
opening. They should be highly visible and capable of remaining in place during
adverse weather conditions.
Installing timber temporary edge protection
Temporary timber guardrails are sometimes used for edge protection. Timber edge 
protection shall be constructed by a competent person and extreme caution is
required to ensure the appropriateness of all materials used. Construction must 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
take into account the forces that are likely to be applied to the edge protection as
a result of the work undertaken. 
For further information, refer to the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for
Scaffolding in New Zealand: Section 6.14 Timber scaffolds.
6.3 Mechanical access plant 
Mechanical access plant includes all mechanically operated plant that can be used
to gain access for the purpose of working at height. Commonly used mechanical
access plant include:
 › mobile elevating work platforms
 › forklift platforms
 › crane lift platforms
 › vehicle extension arms
 › knuckle boom.
These are specialised pieces of equipment often designed for particular types 
of operation. It is essential that the correct type of machine is selected for
the intended work. The operator should be competent to operate the type of
mechanical access plant.
It is essential that these types of plant are operated within the manufacturer’s
guidelines.
■■ Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)
Common forms of MEWPs include cherry pickers, scissor lifts, hoists and travel 
towers. There are some key safety issues that should be considered before using a
MEWP.
Some MEWPs are designed for hard flat surfaces only (eg, concrete slab), while
others are designed for operating on rough and uneven terrain. 
Units powered by internal combustion engines are not suitable for use in buildings
or areas with poor natural ventilation unless appropriate artificial ventilation is
provided.
Mobile elevating work platforms:
 › need to be clearly marked with the rated lifting capacity
 › need to have a six-monthly inspection certificate displayed.
Before use the operator should ensure that:
 › the MEWP has been inspected and tested within the previous six months
 › the MEWP is set up level and on firm surfaces
 › hazards associated with power lines are appropriately controlled
 › the MEWP will not create a hazard, eg, the boom will not swing out into the path 
of other vehicles
 › the MEWP will not be overloaded or used as a crane. (As an estimate, a person 
plus light tools is deemed to weigh 100 kg.)
An operator in a boom-style MEWP shall wear a safety harness with a lanyard 
incorporating a short energy absorber attached to a certified anchor point. The
line should be just long enough to provide free movement within the confines of
the bucket.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 8: A worker restrained in
scissor lift.
17
Figure 9: A worker restrained in a
boom-style elevating work platform.
Operators should not over-reach or climb over the rails of the MEWP platform to
reach a work area. The soles of both feet should be kept on the work platform.
18
Scissor lifts and other elevating work platforms such as cherry pickers can be used
as a means of access to a work area. In this case, the worker should be protected by
a double lanyard system fixed to a certified anchor point. 
On a scissor lift a harness should be worn unless a hazard assessment has clearly
demonstrated that the work can be undertaken without a harness and there is no
risk of falling. The manufacturer’s instructions should also be followed.
Some content from Worksafe Victoria © Prevention of Falls in General Construction. 
■■ Forklift platforms
Work platforms may be constructed to be raised or lowered using a forklift and 
these should be used in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice for Training
Operators and Instructors of Powered Industrial Lift Trucks (Forklifts) – Ministry
of Business, Innovation and Employment. Non-integrated work platforms should be
designed for the specific model of forklift truck.
Forklift work platforms should:
 › be made in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2359.1, Powered Industrial 
Trucks
 › be fitted with guardrails, mid rails and kickboards
 › only have any gates that open inwards and that are installed with a spring-
loaded latch
 › have a two-metre-high guard that is sufficiently wide to prevent any contact 
with the lifting mechanism fitted to the back of the platform
 › be operated with the tilt lever on the forklift controls locked out or made 
inoperable; alternatively, a fall-restraint system comprising a full harness and
short lanyard, allowing free movement only within the platform confines, shall
be used
 › have operating instructions available
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
 › have the safe working load displayed in a prominent position
 › have the platform secured to the forks in such a way that it cannot tilt, slide or 
be displaced
 › only be used by a competent forklift operator
 › only be used while an operator is at the controls of the forklift or there is an
independent means of access to and egress from the platform. 
■■ Crane lift platforms
Where no other practical and suitable method is available, a working platform may 
be suspended from a crane and the worker must be attached to the hook. The
crane operator and the person using the platform should discuss the operation and
maintain direct communication by line of sight or by telecommunication at all times.
For further guidance refer to AS/NZS 2550.1 Cranes, Hoists and Winches; Approved
Code of Practice for Cranes; Crane Safety Manual Crane Association of New Zealand;
NZS 3404 – The Steel Structures Standard; and NZS/ASME/ANSI B56.1 Safety
standard for low and high lift trucks.
■■ Knuckle booms
A knuckle boom has a second articulated joint partway along the arm to allow
for extra flexibility and reach for the work platform. The arm can be folded away
when not in use, and to vary the reach in use. Knuckle booms should be used and
maintained in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice for Power-Operated
Elevating Work Platforms.
If an extension arm is attached to a MEWP, a design certificate from a chartered
professional engineer (CPEng) with experience in this field shall be obtained. Such
certificates shall show that the platform meets the criteria in AS 2359.1 Powered
Industrial Trucks for a power-operated work platform in relation to stability,
strength and safety, provision of operating instructions and rated capacity.
Further information on the safe use of MEWPs is provided in the AS 2550.10 Cranes,
hoists and winches – Safe use – Mobile elevating work platforms.
6.4 Safety mesh
Safety mesh is the preferred system for protecting construction workers against
falling through a roof while they are laying roof sheets. If securely fixed, it also
provides fall prevention for maintenance and repair workers.
Safety mesh should be used in conjunction with appropriate edge protection such 
as guardrails. If isolation is not practicable then a safety harness system should be 
used.
Safety mesh should comply with AS/NZS 4389 Safety Mesh. This specifies the 
minimum requirements for the design, construction, testing and installation of
safety mesh for use in domestic, commercial and industrial building applications.
■■ Installing safety mesh
People installing safety mesh should only use mesh where the product information 
has been made available by the manufacturer/supplier, including evidence of
compliance with AS/NZS 4389 Safety Mesh. 
Particular care is required to ensure that the mesh is securely connected to the
structure and the overlap between adjacent sections of mesh is sufficient to
achieve the necessary strength to resist the force of a person falling onto it.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
19
Figure 10: Example of how safety
mesh should be safely installed. 
Figures 11 and 12: Two examples
of installed safety mesh.
Use scaffolding or elevating work platforms to obtain safe access for installation
workers.
20
The safety mesh should be covered by the roof cladding as soon as possible after
it has been installed. However, the people installing the cladding should ensure
that this does not happen until such time as the mesh has been formally inspected
by a competent person as being installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s
instructions.
The mesh is first cut to the right length and is then run out over the roof using a
continuous rope system. Installers should not walk across the open purlins to draw
the mesh.
6.5 Harness systems
A harness system enables a person to be positioned and safely supported at a work 
location for the duration of the task being undertaken at height. Harness systems 
are used for gaining access to, and working at, a workface where there is a risk of a
fall. The most common harness systems include:
 › total restraint systems
 › fall arrest systems
 › work positioning systems
 › industrial rope access systems (see page 25 for relevant information sources)
 › safety lines, lifelines, prescribed or proprietary (engineered) systems.
■■ Total restraint system
The preferred harness system for working at height is the total restraint system 
(sometimes referred to as a travel restraint system). This system protects a
user from approaching an unprotected edge, thereby preventing a free fall from
occurring.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
The system consists of equipment rated for a fall—such as a full body harness that
is connected by a lanyard or safety line to a suitable anchorage point or horizontal
lifeline. 
■■ Fall arrest system
A fall arrest system is designed to support and hold a person in the event of a fall. 
It is not a work positioning system as they are not designed to support a person
while working.
Only when total restraint is impractical, should a fall arrest system be considered.
Fall arrest is a minimisation measure as it does not prevent the fall from occurring.
These systems require a higher level of operator competency and supervision. 
A fall arrest system is an assembly of interconnected components consisting
of a harness which is connected to an anchorage point by means of a lanyard
incorporating an energy absorber. They can be used where workers are required to
carry out their work near an unprotected edge.
When fall arrest systems are used an appropriate safety helmet shall be worn to 
protect the worker from head injury during an uncontrolled fall.
■■ Work positioning systems
Work positioning systems enable a person to work supported in a harness under 
tension in a way that a fall is prevented. Generally the arrangement allows for the
worker to maintain a stable position and to work hands-free while completing a
task. The harness arrangement should not allow a fall of more than 600 mm. This is
generally achieved through the use of short lanyards of 300 mm. 
■■ Anchorage
Permanent anchors
A permanent anchor point should be designed by a chartered professional engineer. 
The manufacturer and designer should ensure that each permanent anchor is 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 13: Minor roof repairs can be
undertaken with work positioning. 
21
Figure 14: Working within an arc
below the inertia reel.
uniquely identified so that its installation, testing and maintenance can be tracked
during its lifetime. 
22
Permanent anchor systems are exposed to environmental and other working
stressors during their lives. They are also reliant on the condition and strength
of the material they are installed into. Therefore, anchor testing and inspection
regimes should consider all these factors.
The expected design life of the anchor and the required maintenance should be
specified by the designer.
Anchors should have a rated load of 15 kN. All fall arrest and abseil anchors should
be tagged and recertified annually to remain compliant with AS/NZS 1891.4. 
Temporary anchorage
A temporary anchor can include proprietary fittings or an appropriate arrangement 
of strops and ropes. All temporary anchors shall be set up by a competent person.
Where a proprietary temporary system is used, it shall be installed in accordance
with the manufacturer’s or designer’s instructions and specifications. 
The roof or other building component to which an anchor is to be attached shall 
be checked by a competent person to verify that it is suitable for supporting the
anchor. 
Anchor points should ideally be positioned above head height of the worker to limit
the free-fall distance. This is particularly important when using an inertia reel, as
this will prevent the line making contact with an obstruction and to limit the freefall
distance to that recommended by the designer/manufacturer. 
For further information, refer to the Best Practice Guidelines for Industrial
Rope Access in New Zealand. 
Training
All harness work requires training and competence
 and only trained and competent 
personnel can install and use harness systems on site. Persons not trained should
be inducted by the system installer or other qualified persons before they are
permitted to use the system. They should also be supervised at all times by another
person who is also trained and competent. 
For workers who are to complete basic work while under total restraint, a
recommended means of achieving competence is NZQA Unit Standard 23229
– Use a safety harness for personal fall prevention when working at height, or
an equivalent or higher qualification. 
A recommended means of obtaining competence for workers who are involved in
planning, installing, operating fall arrest systems and supervising staff is NZQA
Unit Standard 15757 – Use, install and disestablish proprietary fall arrest systems
when working at height or an equivalent or higher level of qualification. NZQA U
nit
Standard 23229 is a prerequisite for achieving
 NZQA Unit Standard 15757.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Minimising the potential fall distance
When a fall arrest system is being used, the potential free-fall distance should be 
less than two metres. Energy-absorbing lanyards should not be used in conjunction
with inertia reels as this can result in an excessive distance of fall prior to the fall
being arrested.
There should be sufficient distance between the work surface and any surface below
to enable the system, including the action of any shock absorber, to deploy fully. 
Static line
deflection =  S
Original length of
lanyard = 2.0m
Max. lanyard
extension = 1.75m
Max. lanyard
extension = 1.75m
Clearance = 1.0m
Maintain minimum of slack in fall arrest line
There should not be excessive slack in the fall arrest line between the user and the 
attachment. The anchorage point should be as high as the equipment allows. Never
work above the anchor point, as this will increase the free-fall distance in the event
of a fall, resulting in higher forces on the body and greater likelihood of the arrest
line snagging on obstructions.
Positioning the inertia reel anchor points
Minimum clearance below the
static line = 6.55m + S minimum
Figure 15: Required minimum
clearance below the level of
the line anchorages.
Inertia reels should be anchored above head height to prevent the line making
contact with an obstruction and to limit the free-fall distance to that
recommended by the designer/manufacturer. The user should work within an
arc of up to 30 degrees below the inertia reel unless otherwise specified by the
manufacturer. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
23
Pendulum effect
The pendulum effect is a potential hazard with the use of harness systems. It can 
24
occur in two situations, swing down and swing back.
To prevent the pendulum effect from occurring:
 › place the anchorage point at a right angle to the position of the line at the
perimeter edge; a mobile anchorage is of assistance here
 › use secondary anchor points and/or anchor lines
 › use a perimeter guardrail to prevent any fall over the perimeter edge. 
Where the pendulum effect is possible, it is better to use a work positioning system
or another means of access such as an elevating work platform.
Figure 16: Example of a poorly placed
anchor point and rope that is too long.
Rescue planning
A rescue plan should be developed before installing the harness system. It is critical 
that a suspended worker can be promptly rescued.
A worker suspended in a harness can develop suspension intolerance. This is a 
condition in which blood pooling in the legs can lead to loss of consciousness, renal
failure and, in extreme cases, death. 
A pre-rigged retrieval system is a good way of ensuring prompt rescue. A rescue
plan should consider:
 › the rescue method, ie, use of a crane or elevating work platform
 › available equipment
 › responsibilities and training
 › communication
 › medical requirements 
 › involving the emergency service.
Figure 17: Example of a poorly placed
anchor point that leads to swing back.
Workers using fall arrest systems must never work alone. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
A recommended means of achieving competency for rescue planning is NZQA Unit
Standard 23232 – Develop a rescue plan for recovery of a suspended individual
after a fall or equivalent or higher standard. NZQA U
nit Standard 23229 is a
prerequisite for achieving
 NZQA Unit Standard 23232.
Industrial rope access
Industrial rope access is a highly specialised work method. For further guidance see:
 › AS/NZS 1891 Industrial Fall Arrest Systems and Devices Series (Parts 1–4)
 › Industrial Rope Access in New Zealand Best Practice Guidelines 
 › AS/NZS 4488.1 Industrial rope access systems – Specifications
 › AS/NZS 4488.2 Industrial rope access systems – Selection, use and maintenance
 › The Approved Code of Practice for Arboriculture
 › IRAANZ Best Practice Guidelines Industrial Rope Access in New Zealand.
Lifelines/safety lines
Australia/New Zealand Standards that apply are:
 › AS/NZ1891.4:2009 – Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Part 4:
Selection, use and maintenance
 › AS/NZ4488.1:1997 – Industrial rope access systems – Part 1: Specifications
 › AS/NZ4488.2:1997 – Industrial rope access systems – Part 2: Selection, use and 
maintenance.
Prescribed systems
A prescribed system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with 
AS/NZS 1891.2 Supp 1:2001. The end anchor loadings on these systems may reach up
to 63.3 kN. 
Proprietary systems
A proprietary system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with 
a manufacturer’s specification. These systems usually include shock-absorbing
components that reduce the end anchor loadings of the lifeline. Some proprietary
systems are installed with top-fixed anchors that depend partly on the strength of
the roof sheeting.
Refer to AS/NZ 1891 parts 1–4 and the manufacturer/designer instructions and/or
specifications.
Engineered systems
An engineered system is a lifeline that is designed and installed by a qualified 
structural engineer. These are not as common as proprietary systems but will
accommodate most fall arrest systems. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
25
Figure 18: To access stock a worker
uses a step platform with barriers
on all sides.
6.6 Temporary work platforms (TWPs)
26
Figure 19: Folding platform 
(with no edge protection).
Temporary work platforms should be constructed by a competent person and
should be suitable for carrying out specific work that is most often under five
metres in height. 
They are either:
 › a proprietary (engineered) work platform constructed and used in accordance 
with the manufacturer’s instructions, or
 › a constructed work platform using construction materials and built by a 
competent person.
■■ Scaffold temporary work platforms
The most common example is scaffolding—proprietary and tube and clip. The 
SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding provides further information on this
type of temporary work platform. 
Guardrails, including mid rails and toe boards, should be provided on the exposed
sides and end of all working platforms regardless of height. 
All scaffolds or TWPs, from which a person may fall five metres or more, are
required to be notified to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and
shall be erected by a person holding a relevant certificate of competency.
■■ Non-scaffold temporary work platforms
A variety of non-scaffold temporary work platforms are available, some with 
guardrail protection and some without. Where the work platform does not have
any guardrail system it should be restricted to low-level use, for example, a hop-up
platform or a step platform on a stepladder. The platform should be sufficient in
area for the users to undertake their work safely.
Figure 20: Folding
platform (with handrail).
Figure 21: Folding
platform (with guardrail). 
Figure 22: Podium platform
with guardrail on three sides.
Proprietary TWPs are generally used on firm level ground and the manufacturer’s
instructions for the use of the platform shall be followed. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
A hazard assessment shall be carried out to determine which TWP should be used for
completing the working at height task. Always apply the hierarchy of controls.
■■ Podium, folding, and step-up platforms
These platforms come in a variety of design configurations and may be of a fixed 
height or have adjustable deck heights. They are available with full guardrail, handrail
only, or no edge protection. 
Podium, folding or step-up platforms and platforms with no edge protection are
generally intended for short-term interior work. They should be used on firm level
ground. If used outside on soft ground, sole boards should be used to ensure the
podium platform is stable. 
■■ Trestle scaffolds
Trestle scaffolds are only suitable for low-level work because of the difficulty of 
incorporating a guardrail system. An example of low-level work is when the worker may
need to paint a low ceiling.
Guardrail systems are available for trestles and should be used wherever possible. 
Trestles without a guardrail system should only be used when the duty holder’s 
hazard management systems show that the likelihood of a person falling and injuring
themselves is low and the work is of short duration. 
The hazard assessment also must show that other alternative controls that give more
protection cannot be used.
Steel or aluminium fold-out trestles are used in conjunction with scaffold boards or
staging. These trestles shall be manufactured and used in accordance with AS/NZS
1892 Portable Ladders.
Another form of trestle is a self-supporting stand including horizontal members
designed to support one end of a light-duty work platform. It may be folding or
telescopic. 
The design and construction of these trestles shall comply with AS/NZS 1576.5 or
other accepted international standards. 
■■ Step platforms
A step platform provides a safer alternative to a stepladder, especially where the 
task involves working at height for extended periods or with restricted vision (such
as welding or other hot work). The step platform is more stable and provides a much
larger work surface than the stepladder. Some models are collapsible and should 
comply with AS/NZS 1892.1.
■■ Stilts
Stilts allow a construction worker to reach high places when taping, stopping and 
texturing plasterboard in the interior of the building. The stilts can also be used for
other construction work. They should not be used on scaffolding or other equipment
that might be used to elevate the worker. 
Use stilts on even surfaces and on floor areas clear of rubbish or building materials,
and where openings are covered. Stilts should be properly maintained between uses
according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
The use of stilts raises a worker’s centre of gravity, making them less stable and prone
to tripping, overbalancing, or falling through openings in floors or walls. Only workers
competent in the use of a particular type of stilt may be permitted to use them.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 23: A hop-up trestle. 
Figure 24: A worker stands on a
trestle scaffold.
Figure 25: A worker uses a step 
platform.
27
Figure 26: A plasterer uses
stilts to comfortably reach
above door frames.
For the safe use of stilts:
 › inspect the stilts every time before use
 › use only on hard, level surfaces
 › clear the area where workers will be working on stilts of any debris or construction 
28
materials
 › provide barriers across any openings such as doors or windows that could create a 
fall hazard
 › work directly over the stilts without reaching or leaning the body
 › limit the amount of weight carried while working on the stilts.
© Worksafe Victoria – Use of Plasterers Stilts.
■■ Constructed temporary work platforms
Design, fabrication and erection of temporary work platforms from building materials
must meet sound design and construction principles as prescribed by existing
construction standards such as SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New
Zealand. 
Where construction workers build their own work platforms they shall ensure that:
 › no alternative forms of work platform are readily available
 › they are constructed from suitable materials
 › competent and skilled tradesmen construct or supervise the construction of the 
work platform
 › the proposed structure can safely support the tradesmen, materials and plant 
necessary to complete the work
 › guardrails, toe boards and mid rails are in place
 › the proposed structure can stand up to the construction activities and processes 
necessary to complete the work safely.
Temporary work platforms must never be constructed from construction materials 
such as pallets, bricks, concrete blocks, buckets or barrels, furniture, nail boxes, or
packing crates. 
The platform width needs to be a minimum width of 675 mm.
The narrowest width of the platform should never be less than half of its height from 
the ground at the highest point. The span between supports should not exceed the
recommended specifications of the SARNZ Best Practise Guidelines for Scaffolding
in New Zealand. In the case of timber, maximum working load will be as for light-duty 
loading outlined in the SARNZ Best Practise Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand. 
The maximum width of the platform width is 1200 mm wide and is covered in the
general principles of light-duty platforms from the SARNZ Best Practise Guidelines for
Scaffolding in New Zealand.
6.7 Catch platforms
A catch platform is a platform attached to a scaffold to contain debris falling from a
working platform. A cantilevered portion of a catch platform is also called a fan. These
platforms are designed to catch debris and should not be used to catch persons. 
The platform shall be of robust construction and designed to sustain the maximum
potential impact load. Scaffolding components may be used to construct a mobile
catch platform. 
More information on catch platforms and fans on scaffolds can be found in the Best
Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
6.8 Soft landing systems (SLSs)
The purpose of a SLS is to mitigate the effect of falls from height during
construction by providing an energy-absorbing landing area. Most SLSs have been
designed for use principally inside a building where the bags will be enclosed by walls
or partitions. SLSs do not prevent a fall, but they may minimise the harm from one. 
Refer to PAS 59:2004 – Filled collective fall arrest systems, available from the
British Standards Institute.
6.9 Safety nets
Safety nets are used on construction sites and similar works mainly to arrest a
person’s fall, although they can also be used to catch or contain debris. 
Safety nets are manufactured from synthetic materials. They are lightweight
and rot-resistant, but they can be easily damaged by improper use, wear and
tear, heat or flame, handling, or storage. They can also be adversely affected by
weathering, UV degradation and environmental factors resulting in some strength
loss. It is therefore essential that safety nets are subject to regular examinations 
by a competent person and are periodically tested in accordance with the 
manufacturer’s instructions. The manufacturer’s instructions shall also be followed
for installation, use and storage. 
■■ Classification of safety nets
Safety nets conforming to BS EN 1263-1 should be used. For further guidance see:
 › EN 1263:1 (2002) Industry Safety Nets
 › BS EN 1263:2 Safety Requirements for the Positioning Limits 
 › BS 3913: Industrial safety nets.
6.10  Fixed roof ladders and crawl boards
Fixed crawl boards and roof ladders may be used to provide permanent access
to a work positioning system, or on pitched or brittle roofs to gain access to
service plant. Crawl boards shall have a minimum width of 450 mm and should have
handrails. 
On brittle roofs guardrails should be permanently installed on crawl boards and
fixed roof ladders. Crawl boards should have a non-slip surface or cleats, depending
on their pitch. Ensure that permanent access complies with the Building Act 2004. 
Temporary roof ladders and crawl boards should be of the same standard as 
for permanent installations. Roof ladders should be used on roof pitches over  
25 degrees.
The bracket on the top of a crawl board or roof ladder should be sufficiently deep
to reach over the ridge and lap the roof framing. 
Crawl boards, when used on their own, do not prevent a fall. Where the potential
of a fall still exists while using crawl boards, additional measures such as edge
protection and/or fall restraint systems may need to be utilised.
6.11  Ladders, stepladders, and means of access
Ladders and step ladders do not offer fall protection and therefore should be the
last form of work access equipment to be considered. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 27: A worker falls into a soft 
landing system.
29
Ladders or stepladders should be used for low-risk and short-duration tasks. The
user should maintain three points of contact with a ladder or stepladder to reduce
the likelihood of slipping and falling.
30
Ladders and stepladders should be of trade or industrial standard and be rated at
not less than 120 kg. In New Zealand, industrial-use ladders should be compliant with
the AS/NZS 1892 standard. 
Ladders should be:
 › clearly labelled as complying with AS/NZS 1892.1.1996
 › structurally sound
 › free of defects
 › not covered in chemicals or other materials.
■■ Issues for ladder or stepladder use
 › Overload—the person and anything they are taking up should not exceed the 
highest safe working load stated on the ladder.
 › Over-reach—keep the line of the belt buckle (navel) inside the stiles with both 
feet on the same rung throughout the task.
 › Do not keep tools or other items resting on the steps or hanging from the
rungs.
 › Carry tools on a tool belt.
 › Stop at the third step from the top of a straight ladder.
Figure 28: Correct – user
maintaining three points of
contact with the ladder.
Figure 29: Incorrect – user overreaching
and not maintaining three
points
of contact.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
■■ Working from stepladders
When working from stepladders, avoid work that imposes side loading, such as side-
on drilling through solid materials. Face the steps of the ladder towards the work
activity.
Where side-on loadings cannot be avoided, prevent the stepladder from tipping
over by tying the steps to a suitable point, or use a more suitable type of access
equipment.
Avoid holding items when climbing ladders and stepladders by using tool belts.
Figure 30: Correct – steps facing
work activity. 
Figure 31: Incorrect – steps are
side-on to work activity.
■■ On a stepladder
Where a handhold cannot be maintained, the use of a stepladder should take into 
account:
 › the height of the task
 › whether a safe handhold is available on the stepladder
 › whether it is light work
 › whether it avoids side loading
 › whether it avoids over-reaching
 › whether the user’s feet are fully supported
 › whether the stepladder can be tied
 › location, eg, away from driveways and doorways unless isolated
 › that there is four metres clearance from electricity lines
 › use of hand tools that require a high level of leverage.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 32: Maintain three points of 
contact climbing the ladder.
31
■■ Preventing ladders from slipping
All practicable steps must be taken to prevent a leaning ladder from slipping or falling. 
32
Where possible:
 › tie (or equally effectively secure) the ladder at the top. If this is not possible tie it 
where practicable
 › use an effective ladder stability device
 › wedge the ladder against a suitable fixed structure, eg, a wall
 › ‘foot it’ by facing the ladder with both feet on the bottom rung, each foot as far 
apart as possible on the rung (stile to stile), and both hands on the stiles.
The person footing the ladder should remain in the position described until the person 
using the ladder has descended to a point where they can safely step onto the ground.
The user and footer should not overload the ladder.
When in use, the portable leaning ladder should:
 › rest against a solid surface at the top
 › rise at least one metre or three rungs above the landing point
 › be positioned so users do not have to over-reach or climb over obstacles (users 
should be able to do the job with both feet and one hand on the ladder)
 › rest on firm, level ground
 › be in good condition and free from slippery substances
 › be used with adequate clearance from traffic routes
 › be at an angle of one metre out for every four metres up.
■■ Ladder stability devices (LSDs)
Ladder stability devices are available and may offer additional means of achieving 
ladder stability where other methods would not work, eg, tying or footing.
Ladder stability devices and ladder levellers should only be used strictly in accordance 
with the manufacturer’s and supplier’s instructions for use.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
■■ Checking ladders before use
The following should be checked before using a ladder and after any incident (eg, 
ladder being dropped).
 › Check all feet and caps are present and in good condition and securely fastened
 › Ensure all side stays and clips are present and fixed in place
 › All rivets are present and in good condition
 › Rungs have not been bent or damaged
 › Side stiles have no deformities, ie, dents or structural faults
■■ Access and egress
A single portable ladder set up and secured at a slope of a ratio of 4:1 (four metres 
up by one metre out) and extending at least one metre or three rungs above the
stepping-off point is a suitable means of access and egress, provided it is:
 › a step ladder of maximum length – six metres
 › a single ladder of maximum length – nine metres 
 › secured against sliding top and bottom
 › set on firm, level ground
 › extending by one metre higher than the roof or other step off point
 › used by no more than one person at a time except when footing.
Climbing a ladder to secure it at the top can be hazardous. It is advisable to have
another person to secure the ladder at the bottom while this is achieved. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
33
7. Other hazards that can impact
on working at height
34
The following is a list of some of the more
common issues that should be considered when
identifying the hazard of working at height. The
chart identifies a range of controls to prevent
harm that should be considered for each issue. 
This list or the controls should not be considered all-inclusive. It is essential that a
full hazard assessment is carried out prior to any activities involving work at height.
The hierarchy of controls must be applied when determining the control or range of
controls that are appropriate for the work to be undertaken. In all cases, elimination 
controls shall be considered ahead of isolation controls, and minimisation controls 
shall only be adopted when neither elimination nor isolation are practicable. 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
HAZARD CIRCUMSTANCE CONTROLS: EACH HAZARD MAY NEED A COMBINATION OF CONTROLS TO
ADEQUATELY MINIMISE THE RISK OF INJURY 
Falls from
height
Electrical
shock and arc
flash
 › Access between multiple
levels
 › Advancing edges of in-situ or
precast concrete and steel
erection
 › Edges of roofs
 › Edges of upper-level floors
 › Ladders
 › Mechanical plant: EWPs, crane 
lift platforms, forklifts
 › Penetrations, openings or 
hoist areas
 › Scaffolding: erection and use
 › Unprotected shafts and 
excavations
Working in the proximity of
overhead power supply including:
 › MEWPs
 › scaffold
 › ladder work
 › working above or to the side 
of power lines.
Access using insulated work 
platforms and insulated tools
is specialist work, and may only
be carried out by workers who
have the required competency
to industry standards, and
in accordance with approved
industry procedures. 
ELIMINATE
 › Organise work to be carried out on the ground
ISOLATE
 › Provide stairs
 › Provide guardrails, including mid rails
 › Provide scaffolding
 › Use elevating work platforms
 › Cover or fence penetrations and openings
 › Cover or fence excavations
 › Cover roof areas with safety mesh before roofs are laid
MINIMISE
 › Provide close spacing of roof battens
 › Provide secure ladder access
 › Install safety nets
 › Use restraint (travel restriction) techniques
 › Use work positioning techniques
 › Use fall arrest systems
 › Provide soft landing systems
 › Use protective footwear that provides a non-slip and flexible grip
ELIMINATE
Have overhead services transferred to underground before commencing work at 
height.
ISOLATE
Overhead conductors are disconnected from service by the power supply company
and the work area is confirmed to be safe. Obtain written confirmation from the
person who disconnected the power to verify which work areas are isolated from
power and which areas are not.
Contact the power company to obtain written confirmation of the safe working
distance and then plan all work to be conducted from outside of the zone as per
the instructions of the power company.
MINIMISE
Establish a plan that ensures that work can be achieved without likelihood that 
the minimum approach distances (MAD) (as set out in The New Zealand Electrical
Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances NZECP34:2001 (NZECP 34)) will be
breached. Only allow work in the vicinity of the live lines if this is achievable.
Use a safety observer (this is particularly relevant if MEWPs are used, as the
operator may become spatially disoriented and the work involves frequent
movement or relocation).
CAUtION:
Work in close proximity of live lines should be completed by workers who have the 
required electricity industry competency.
Access using insulated work platforms and insulated tools is specialist work, 
and may only be carried out by workers who have the required competency
to electricity industry standards, and in accordance with approved industry
procedures.
Always contact the line owner to seek approval to work close to power lines. Find
out what the safe distance is and seek advice on how to work safely.
the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances
NZECP34:2001 (NZECP 34) is available from the website: www.energysafety.govt.nz
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
35
HAZARD CIRCUMSTANCE CONTROLS: EACH HAZARD MAY NEED A COMBINATION OF CONTROLS TO
ADEQUATELY MINIMISE THE RISK OF INJURY 
36
Falls through
upper level
surfaces
Struck by
falling objects
Trips and
slips
Manual
handling
 › Corroded metal roofing
 › Fragile or brittle surfaces: 
asbestos cement, cellulose
cement, glass, fibreglass,
acrylic or other similar
moulded or fabricated
material
 › Skylights and roof
penetrations
 › Loads are placed on elevated
work areas
 › Overhead crane/lifting
operations
 › Work is to be carried out
above other workers 
 › Changing levels
 › Construction debris material/
poor housekeeping
 › Crowded or cluttered work 
area
 › Electrical leads
 › Lapped planks
 › Sloped work surfaces
 › Surfaces that are wet/icy, 
polished, glazed or oily
 › Handling materials which may
be caught by the wind
 › Momentary imbalance leading
to sudden movement
 › Work at height creating
awkward body position
ISOLATE
 › Use walkways and crawl boards
 › Cover or guard all brittle and dangerous areas
 › Work from scaffolding or platforms immediately below brittle surfaces
MINIMISE
 › Use mechanical access plant
 › Use a bump rail or physical barrier to keep all people at least two metres away 
from brittle areas
 › Assess roof conditions from below
ISOLATE
 › Fit toe boards or equivalent protection
 › tether tools and equipment
 › Secure storage of materials
 › Install catch screens or platforms
 › Erect a gantry or a protective screen over high-volume/public areas
 › Fence off lower areas
MINIMISE
 › Provide mobile construction plant with a falling object protective structure
(FOPS)
 › Provide warning signage
 › Provide safety watch person
 › Wear safety helmets and safety footwear
ELIMINATE
 › Keep surfaces clean and free of tripping hazards or materials
 › Keep all work areas tidy and clean, and store materials when not in use
 › Pull out, screw in, or trim up protruding nails, screws and bolts
ISOLATE
 › Isolate any protruding reinforcing steel work
MINIMISE
 › Provide adequate work area and good task lighting
 › Provide non-slip work surfaces
ELIMINATE
 › Use lifting aids to deliver materials
ISOLATE
 › Provide an enclosed work area
MINIMISE
 › Reduce weight and size of objects
 › Keep tool belts balanced and weight down
 › Position work so it is in a neutral position and over-reaching or excessive 
holding is not required
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
HAZARD CIRCUMSTANCE CONTROLS: EACH HAZARD MAY NEED A COMBINATION OF CONTROLS TO
ADEQUATELY MINIMISE THE RISK OF INJURY 
Environmental
hazards
Plant and
machinery
injuries
 › Earthquakes
 › Heat (sun)
 › High winds
 › Icy conditions
 › Rain
 › Reflective glare off surfaces
 › Wind
 › Unguarded machinery:
conveyors, augers, chain and
belt drives
 › Vessels and pipes at extreme
hot and cold temperature
 › Vessels and pipes leaking
hazardous substances
Electrocution
 › Electrical plant and machinery
 › Gantry crane ‘buzz bars’
Confined
space
Excavations,
trenches,
openings, and
shafts
 › Asphyxiation
 › Explosion
 › Fall from height
 › Gas or fumes build up
 › Cave-ins
 › Engulfment
 › Fall through
ELIMINATE
 › Where necessary cease operations
ISOLATE
 › Provide work shelters
MINIMISE
 › Wear protective clothing
 › Ensure footwear with good grip is worn
 › Use sun screen
 › Provide a stable work environment
 › Provide emergency procedures
 › Provide adequate fresh drinking water
ELIMINATE
 › Disconnect power supply
ISOLATE
 › Isolate equipment—lock out/tag out
MINIMISE
 › Install guards
 › Maintain minimum safe distances from operating machinery
 › Provide safety watch person
ELIMINATE
 › Disconnect or de-energise electrical supply
ISOLATE
 › Isolate electrical supply—lock out/tag out
 › Install insulating barriers, eg, sleeves, wraps, or tiger tails
MINIMISE
 › Plan a safe work process
 › Provide safety observer
ELIMINATE
 › Work outside of confined space
ISOLATE
 › Refer to Australian Standard AS 2865:2009 Confined Space
MINIMISE
 › Refer to Australian Standard AS 2865:2009 Confined Space
ELIMINATE
 › Do not work near excavations, openings, or shafts
ISOLATE
 › Use barriers and keeping safe working distance
 › securely cover
MINIMISE
 › Refer to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Approved Code 
of Practice for Excavations and Shafts for Foundations
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
37
8. Duty holder responsibilities 
38
The HSE Act applies to all people at work and others persons in, or in the vicinity of,
a place of work. Responsibilities for duty holders are outlined in this section.
The HSE Act creates a number of duties for most people connected with places
of work. There are a number of Regulations, Codes of Practice and industry best
practice guidance documents that support the HSE Act. 
The HSE Act and its regulations are the law. Codes of practice, guidelines and other
guidance material endorsed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 
are considered best practice. 
■■ Principal
A principal is a person or a company that engages any other person or company, 
other than as an employee, to do any work for gain or reward.
A principal to a contract is responsible for the health and safety of employees of 
contractors and subcontractors. This responsibility extends to any contractor 
or subcontractor who is a self-employed individual. A principal might also have
employees who will be owed separate duties because of this employer/employee
relationship.
Putting work out to contract doesn’t remove any of the principal’s health and
safety obligations. Legal responsibilities cannot be transferred to another party.
The legal responsibilities of a principal are set out in Section 18 of the HSE Act.
The steps that should be followed by a principal to ensure good health and safety 
outcomes when work is contracted out are:
 › scope the work to identify the key health and safety issues before the work is 
put out to tender or the contract is formalised
 › pre-qualify the contractor to ensure that they are competent to safely 
complete the required work
 › negotiate health and safety requirements when the contractor is selected
 › set out health and safety expectations in the contract documents
 › monitor the contract to ensure that health and safety expectations are met
 › complete a review after the contract for any learning that can be applied to 
future contracted work.
For further details refer to A Principal’s Guide to Contracting to meet the 
Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 plus its summary, Health and Safety in
Contracting Situations.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Employee
Employee
Subcontractor
Subcontractor
Subcontractor
Contractor
Contractor
Contractor
Contractor
PRINCIPAL
Employee
Subcontractor
Contractor
PRINCIPAL
KEY
■■ Employer
Employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees and of any other 
people who may be affected by the actions or inactions of employees.
An employer is required to take all practicable steps to ensure that work 
undertaken is safe.
Employers shall have an effective method for identifying hazards to employees 
at work and must take all practicable steps to ensure that those hazards are 
controlled. 
indicates principal/
contractor relationship
indicates employer/
employee relationship
indicates section 18
obligation
Employers shall also take all practicable steps to ensure that employees are
adequately trained and/or supervised to be able to work safely.
■■ Employee
An employee is defined by the HSE Act as any person of any age who is employed by 
an employer to do any work for hire or any reward under a contract of service, that
is an employment agreement. 
An employee is responsible for their own health and safety and must also ensure
that their actions or inactions do not harm other people. In effect, employees have
a responsibility to follow the safe work procedures that have been put in place by
their employer.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Figure 33: Typical principal and
contractor arrangement. 
39
Employees should bring to the attention of their supervisor any illness, ailment or
other condition which may prevent or limit their ability to work at height. This is
important for their safety and the safety of others. It will also assist supervisors
with planning and work allocation.
40
■■ Self-employed
Someone is self-employed who is working other than as an employee in one or more 
of the following types of work: providing goods or services for hire or reward under
contract for services, or carrying on a business as a sole trader, or a partnership.
A self-employed person is responsible for his/her own health and safety and must
ensure that their actions or inactions do not harm other people. A self-employed
person is responsible for undertaking relevant training and having the capability to
safely complete their work. 
■■ Person who controls a place of work
In relation to a place of work, a person who controls a place of work means a person 
who is:
 › the owner, lessee, sublessee, occupier, or person in possession, of the place or 
any part of it, or
 › the owner, lessee, sublessee, or bailee, of any plant in the place.
For the purposes of working at height, this may include the lessor of mechanical
plant or a scaffold supplier/installer.
■■ Employee participation
Involving employees in hazard management is a requirement of the HSE Act. It is 
also an excellent process for implementing hazard controls. This can be done by
delegating health and safety responsibilities to staff, analysing job safety, holding
toolbox meetings and electing health and safety representatives.
Employers must provide reasonable opportunities for employees to participate
effectively in on-going processes for the improvement of health and safety in a
place of work. Where there are 30 or more employees, or where an employee or
union representing employees requests it, the employer must develop, implement
and maintain a system of employee participation in health and safety. 
Where agreement cannot be reached on the system of employee participation,
there are default provisions set out in the HSE Act.
Where employee health and safety representatives are elected, they are entitled to 
paid leave to attend approved training courses.
A trained employee health and safety representative may issue a hazard notice to
an employer where they believe there is a hazard in the place of work, they have
brought it to the employer’s attention and the issue has not been resolved.
Employers and employees must deal with each other in good faith while seeking
agreement on, developing and maintaining a system of employee participation.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
8.1 Legislative framework
The HSE Act is the overarching legislation and compliance is mandatory. The HSE
Act sets out duties which are supplemented by regulations, approved codes of
practice and guidelines. Codes of practice are developed through collaboration
between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and industry. 
A full copy of the HSE Act and the associated Regulations can be downloaded at
www.legislation.govt.nz.
Approved codes of practice are guidelines which have been approved by the Minister
of Labour under the HSE Act. Their requirements are not mandatory or enforceable,
but their observance is accepted in court as evidence of good practice.
Guidelines developed by, or in conjunction with, the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment are an important source of guidance for how to meet the
requirements of the HSE Act.
Where appropriate, New Zealand or other standards may be cited in approved codes
of practice or guidelines. 
For further information about legislative requirements of the HSE Act and its 
regulations please refer to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s
guidance material:
 › Keeping Safe at Work – A Guide for Employees
 › Managing Health and Safety – A Guide for Employers.
8.2 Definitions
■■ All practicable steps
This phrase applies to the general duties that must be carried out by employers, 
employees, self-employed people, people who control places of work and principals.
The HSE Act specifies that a person is required to take those steps only in respect 
of circumstances that the person knows or ought reasonably to know about.
Where the circumstances are known, or ought reasonably to be known, about the 
duty holder is required to take all steps that are reasonably practicable.
A step is practicable if it can reasonably be achieved in the particular circumstances 
having regard to:
 › the nature and severity of any injury or harm that may occur
 › the degree of risk or probability of injury or harm occurring
 › how much is known about the potential harm and the means of eliminating, 
isolating or minimising the hazard from which the harm may arise
 › the availability and cost of those means.
The degree of risk and severity of potential injury or harm must be balanced against
the cost and feasibility of the safeguard. The cost of providing safeguards has to
be measured against the consequences of failing to do so. It is not simply a measure
of whether the person can afford to provide the necessary safeguards. Where
there is a risk of serious or frequent injury or harm, a greater cost in the provision
of safeguards may be reasonable.
Any judgement of whether a safeguard was “reasonably practicable” is to be made
taking into account common practice and knowledge throughout the industry. Duty
holders must do what is “reasonable” which means what a reasonable and prudent 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
41
person would do in the same situation. It is an objective standard determined by the
standards and practices of the industry and society generally.
42
Guidance on the practicable steps that should be taken for known hazards can be
found in regulations, codes of practice, guidelines, standards, industry publications,
manufacturers’ information, safety data sheets and user manuals.
■■ Anchorage
A component cast or fixed into a building or structure for the purpose of attaching 
a scaffold or safety line.
A rigid or flexible line secured to an anchorage point along which a fall arrest device 
travels, or a flexible line which unreels from a fall arrest device.
■■ Barrier to restrict access
A physical or visual barrier is a rope, tape or another visual prompt suspended at
height to act as a boundary around a work area to prevent access to a hazard. It
should be at least two metres away from a height hazard and the roof slope is less
than 25 degrees. 
■■ Chartered professional engineer
An engineer registered under the Chartered Professional Engineers of NZ Act 2002.
■■ Competent person
A person who has through a combination of training, education and experience, 
acquired knowledge and skills enabling that person to correctly perform a
specified task.
■■ Contractor
A person engaged by any person (other than as an employee) to do any work for gain 
or reward.
■■ Construction work
(a) any work in connection with the alteration, cleaning, construction, demolition,
dismantling, erection, installation, maintenance, painting, removal, renewal or
repair of: 
(i) any building, chimney, edifice, erection, fence, structure, or wall, whether
constructed wholly above or below, or partly above or below ground level; 
(ii) any aerodrome, cableway, canal, harbour works, motorway, railway, road or
tramway;
(iii) anything having the purpose of drainage, flood control irrigation, or river
control;
(iv) any distribution system or network having the purpose of carrying
electricity, gas, telecommunications or water;
(v) any aqueduct, bridge, culvert, dam, earthwork, pipeline, reclamation,
reservoir or viaduct:
(vi) any scaffold; and
(b) includes any work in connection with any excavation, preparatory work, or site 
preparation carried out for the purposes of any work referred to in paragraph
(a) of this definition; and
(c) includes any work referred to in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of this definition
carried out underwater, including work on buoys, obstructions to navigation, 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
rafts, ships and wrecks; and
(d) includes the use of any materials or plant for the purposes of any work 
referred to in any of the paragraphs (a) to (c) of this definition; and
(e) includes any inspection or other work carried out for the purposes of 
ascertaining whether any work referred to any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of this
definition should be carried out; but
(f) does not include any work in any mine, quarry or tunnel.
■■ Crane-lifted work platform (man cages)
The equipment where employees carry out their work that is attached to a crane’s
hook block.
■■ Edge protection
Some form of guardrail or barrier designed to prevent a person reaching or falling 
over an exposed edge.
■■ Employee
A person employed by any other person to do any work for hire or reward, and in 
relation to any employer, means an employee of the employer.
■■ Employer
A person or organisation that employs any other person to do any work for hire or
reward, and in relation to any employee, means an employer of the employee.
Employment agreement
(Employment Relations Act 2000): 
(a) a contract for service;
(b) includes a contract for services between an employer and a home worker; and
(c) includes in an employee’s terms and conditions of employment in 
(i) a collective agreement, or
(ii) a collective agreement together with any additional terms and conditions 
of employment; or
(iii) an individual employment agreement.
Every employee must have a written employment agreement. It can either be a
collective agreement (involving a union) or an individual agreement. For further
information on employment agreements: www.dol.govt.nz/er/starting/relationships/
agreements/index.asp 
■■ Fall-arrest harness (safety harness)
An assembly of interconnected shoulder and leg straps, with or without a body belt, 
and used where there is likelihood of free or restrained fall.
■■ Fall arrest system
An assembly of interconnected components comprising a harness connected to an
anchorage point or anchorage system either directly or by means of a lanyard or
pole strap, and whose purpose is to arrest a fall in accordance with the principles
and requirements of AS NZS 1891. 
■■ Fall hazard area 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
43
Any areas that have been identified during the hazard identification process and
secured to avoid harm. This normally refers to anywhere within two metres of the
exposed or unprotected edge of the roof.
44
■■ Fragile/brittle roofing
Consists of any flat, trough, or corrugated material such as asbestos cement, 
plastic or glass, whether reinforced or otherwise, or any other roofing material
that, due to its properties, age or weathering, will not safely support a person at all
points on its surface.
■■ Free fall
Any fall or part of a fall in excess of 600 mm either vertically or on a slope on which 
it is not possible to walk without the assistance of a handrail or line.
■■ Guardrail
A rail or barrier secured to standards or upright members, at a height above the
work platform of 900 mm (minimum) to 1100 mm (maximum) and erected along the
exposed sides and ends of working platforms to prevent persons from falling. It 
includes a lower rail that is fixed to standards midway between the guardrail and the 
platform. See the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand.
■■ Handrail
A rail at a height of between 900 mm (minimum) to 1100 mm (maximum) designed to
assist a person to retain their balance. See the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for
Scaffolding in New Zealand.
■■ Hazard
An activity, arrangement, circumstance, event, occurrence, phenomenon, process, 
situation, or substance, whether arising or caused within or outside a place of
work, that is an actual or potential cause or source of harm; “hazardous” has a
corresponding meaning.
■■ Height
Means the greatest distance from which a person or article may fall before coming 
to rest. In determining the distance that an article can fall, no account shall be
taken of any obstruction that may delay or stop the fall unless there is no possibility
of the fall continuing after the obstruction is reached.
■■ Hierarchy of controls
Controlling the hazard by implementing the most effective hazard controls using 
the “hierarchy of control” principle:
 › eliminate the hazard
 › if it is not possible to eliminate the hazard, isolate the personnel from the 
hazard for example, by providing a barrier between the hazard and the worker or
 › if elimination or isolation methods are not practicable, (or, if the hazard still 
exists after elimination and isolation methods have been used), minimise the
hazard by implementing controls that minimise personnel exposure to the
hazard; and review the controls regularly to ensure that they are working as
planned.
■■ The HSE Act
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
In this guide, the HSE Act refers to the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
and subsequent regulations.
■■ Kilonewton (kN)
A kilonewton is the general unit for the measurement of force and strength. A 
newton is the amount of force required to accelerate a body with a mass of one
kilogram at a rate of one metre per second squared. A kilonewton is a thousand of
these units. 
As an approximation 100 kg hanging at rest on a line will exert a force of 1 kN on the
anchor. 
■■ Ladder
An appliance consisting of two stiles joined by steps or rungs and designed for the 
purpose of climbing and descending.
■■ Lanyard
A line used, to connect a harness to an anchorage point or static line, usually as 
part of a lanyard assembly which includes a personal energy absorber.
■■ Notifiable work
(a) Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Asbestos 
Regulations 1998;
(b) Any logging operation or tree-felling operation, being an operation that is 
undertaken for commercial purposes;
(c) Any construction work of one or more of the following kinds:
(i) Work in which a risk arises that any person may fall five metres or more
other than:
(A) Work in connection with a residential building of up to and including two
full storeys;
(B) Work on overhead telecommunication lines and overhead electric power
lines;
(C) Work carried out from a ladder only;
(D) Maintenance and repair work of a minor and routine nature;
(ii) The erection or dismantling of scaffolding from which a person may fall five
metres or more;
(iii) Work using a lifting appliance where the appliance has to lift a mass of 
500 kg or more a vertical distance of five metres or more, other than work 
using an excavator, forklift, or self-propelled mobile crane;
(iv) Work in any pit, shaft, trench or other excavation in which any person is 
required to work in a space more than 1.5 metres deep and having a depth
greater than the horizontal width at the top;
(v) Work in any drive, excavation or heading in which any person is required to
work with ground cover overhead;
(vi) Work in any excavation in which any face has a vertical height of more than
five metres and an average slope steeper than a ratio of one horizontal to
two vertical;
(vii) Work in which any explosive is used or in which any explosive is kept on the
site for the purpose of being used;
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
45
(viii) Work in which any person breathes air that is or has been compressed or a
respiratory medium other than air. 
46
■■ Person who controls a place of work
In relation to a place of work, means a person who is the owner, lessee, sublessee, 
occupier or person in possession, of the place or any part of it; or the owner, lessee,
sublessee or bailee, of any plant in the place of work.
■■ Pole strap
A work positioning strap designed to be placed around a pole or other vertical 
structural member and attached at two points, one on each side of a harness whilst
the wearer is working on a pole. 
■■ Principal
A person who engages any person other than as an employee to do any work for 
gain or reward.
■■ Restrained fall 
A fall or the arrest of a fall where the person suffering the fall is partially 
restrained by a device such as a pole strap, or is sliding down a slope on which it is
normally possible to walk without the assistance of a handrail or hand line.
■■ Roof work
Any work associated with roof cladding, gutters and spouting, or work carried out 
on a roof area. This includes roof installation and maintenance and installation of
fixtures on a roof. 
■■ Safe working load (SWL)
The maximum load calculated in accordance with sound and accepted engineering 
practice, which can be supported safely under normal working conditions.
■■ Scaffolding
Any advanced scaffolding, basic scaffolding, or suspended scaffolding or any
framework or structure, of a temporary nature, used or intended to be used for:
(a) the support or protection of persons carrying out construction work or work
connected with construction work, for the purpose of carrying out that work
(b) the support of materials used in connection with any such work, and includes:
(i) any scaffolding constructed as such and not dismantled, whether or not it 
is being used as scaffolding 
(ii) any coupling, device, fastening, fitting, or plank used in connection with the
construction, erection or use of scaffolding. 
■■ Secure footing
That the combination of the type of shoes worn and the slope and surface friction 
of the surface being walked on will prevent the possibility of a person slipping or
needing a handrail to assist balance.
■■ Standing scaffold
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
A working platform which is supported wholly or partly from its base.
■■ Static line
In relation to fall protection, means a rope, wire strop, or rail secured between two
points and possibly at various points along its length in order to support anchor
lines, fall arresters or other fall protection devices. It shall have a minimum breaking
strength of 44 kN.
■■ Total restraint (also known as fall restraint or travel restraint)
A control on a person’s movement by means of a combination of a full body harness, 
a line and a line anchorage which will physically prevent the person from reaching a
position at which there is a risk of a free or limited free fall. 
■■ Toe board
A scaffold plank, kickboard or purpose designed component fixed on edge at the 
edge of the platform to prevent materials falling from the platform.
■■ Work at height 
Working at a place, above or below ground level, where a person could be injured 
if they fell from that place—that is, falling from one level to another. Access and
egress, except by a staircase in a permanent workplace to, or within a place of work
can also be work at height. 
Work at height does not include a fall at the same level (for example, falling or
slipping at ground or floor level). 
■■ Work positioning system
Work positioning systems enable a person to work supported in a harness under 
tension in a way that a fall is prevented. Generally the arrangement allows for the
worker maintain a stable position and to work hands-free while completing a task.
The harness arrangement should not allow a fall of more than 600 mm.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
47
8.3  Emergencies 
48
An emergency plan outlines the actions required
of all onsite personnel and must be accessible to
all personnel on site.
The emergency plan must be easy for everyone to
understand and effective immediately if required.
EMERGENCY SCENARIOS – PREPARATION
DEMOLItION ACCIDENt
 › emergency numbers
 › appropriate permits
 › trained personnel in fire fighting
 › fire extinguishers
 › first aiders
 › load shifting equipment available
 › site control
FALL-ARRESt
 › emergency numbers
 › recovery means – ladder, EWPs, cranes
 › rescue kits
 › training 
CONFINED SPACE/HSNO ISSUES
 › permit of entry
 › rescues from the confined space
 › gas testing
 › breathing apparatus
 › protective clothing
 › hot work
ACCESS AND EGRESS SHOULD ALLOW FOR
MASS EVACUAtION FOR PEOPLE WORKING At
HEIGHt
 › alarm systems
 › clearly promoted evacuation plans
 › phone numbers
 › reporting areas identifiable
 › designated safety staff
 › safety staff distinguishing dress code
ELECtRICAL CONtACt
 › phone numbers
 › first aiders
 › electrical awareness of all staff
 › first aid kits
EWP FAILURE
 › equipment within six-monthly service
 › emergency lowering system works 
effectively
 › personnel operating machine suitably 
qualified
 › designated ground personnel familiarised 
with emergency lowering system
FIRE
 › emergency numbers
 › trained personnel in fire fighting
 › appropriate permits
 › blankets
 › fire extinguishers
 › breathing apparatus
ASBEStOS CONtAMINAtION
 › relevant permits
 › protective clothing
 › respirators
 › rescue teams trained around asbestos 
removal
 › breathing apparatus
 › containment of work area
EGRESS FOR INjURED WORKERS
 › phone numbers
 › trained staff at rescue techniques (rope 
rescue)
 › rescue kits and locations
 › stretcher locations
 › first aid kits located
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Rescue component training/competencies Responsibilities
Date
Supervisor
company
Emergency services
involvement (if
applicable)
Medical requirements
Communication and
contact numbers
Rescue equipment
Rescue method
Nature of emergency
team members Main contractor/principal
type of emergency Location
8.4  Emergency rescue plan 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
49
GUIDANCE NOTES
50
Method: this must be a detailed description of how the rescue is going
to be performed. Include the individual steps that will need to be
undertaken, describe the training and competency requirements,
and assign the responsibilities to team members. Where all team
members may be required to perform a specific duty, they will all
be required to hold the appropriate qualification or experience. In
some work environments additional requirements outside the direct
rescue but related to that environment may need to be included
in the description of the method. this includes the shutdown of
machinery or production processes. Rescue methods must ensure
the safety of rescuers.
Equipment: this may include specialised rescue equipment such as height
rescue lines or breathing apparatus sets, plant and machinery such
as crane baskets, MEWPs or winch systems. this may also include
communication equipment such as mobile phones, radios or alarms
and medical equipment including first aid kits and resuscitation
equipment. For equipment requiring certification the rescue plan
should be accompanied by a copy of equipment certification.
Communication: Communication equipment listed above must be considered in
conjunction with a communication strategy to be implemented in
a rescue. this will usually include notification of the situation to
site management and the potential declaration of an emergency
situation, as well as off site management of work teams. 
Medical: As a minimum on the job, first aiders must be present with suitable
training and experience with injuries that may be sustained in the
particular emergency rescue situation. Work teams should also give
consideration to any ensuing medical response or evacuation that
may be required.
Emergency rescue
services:
this would be the Fire Service Rescue Division, however it may
include private or voluntary rescue providers. If the rescue plan is
going to include an external agency then it is essential that agency
is included in the planning process. Verification of response times
and capabilities must be recorded in the rescue plan. For on-going
work a schedule of daily communication with the rescue service
provider must be established.
TRAINING/COMPETENCIES RESPONSIBILITIES
this may include copies of qualifications of
each individual team member and/or records
of drills or practice rescues undertaken.
training/competencies must be established
for all elements of the emergency rescue plan.
Each element of the rescue plan must be
assigned to a member(s) of the team. If the
responsibility is an individual allocation then write
in the person’s name. Where the responsibility
is to be covered by the entire team then it is
acceptable to write “all” or “team”.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
8.5  General emergency checklist 
■■ EMERGENCY CHECKLIST (Example)
This emergency checklist is to be reviewed:
 › at the start of every new job site
 › as new job hazards are identified
 › in conjunction with any other site-specific procedures, eg, Hazard Board
ALL EMPLOYEES ARE TO BE MADE AWARE OF THE LOCATION AND THE 
IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES OF THIS PLAN.
NOtIFIABLE WORK ACtIONED (DEPt. OF LABOUR) YES NO
CORDON OFF AREA (PUBLIC SAFEtY) YES NO
INtERNAL COMMUNICAtIONS – Phone / two-way radio (Crane etc) YES NO
PHONE NUMBERS, eg, internal switchboards YES NO
SItE FIRSt AID KIt (LOCAtION……………………………………..) YES NO
EMERGENCY SERVICES 
FIRE BRIGADE (REACtION tIME……) CAPABILItIES YES NO
AMBULANCE (REACtION tIME……..) YES NO
CRITICAL INFORMATION TO BE OFFERED TO EMERGENCY SERVICES
HAZARDS PRESENt – known and introduced YES NO
LOCAtION YES NO
DESCRIPtION OF INCIDENt YES NO
KNOWN INjURIES YES NO
RESCUE OPTIONS
LOCAL RESOURCES, eg, cranes, cherry picker, forklifts, ladders etc YES NO
tEAM RESCUE – unconscious patient rescue with rescue kits etc YES NO
ASSIStED RESCUE – conscious patient ropes / pulleys etc YES NO
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE
EMPLOYER NOtIFIED YES NO
ACCIDENt REGIStER COMPLEtED YES NO
MBIE NOtIFIED – VERBALLY, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE YES NO
MBIE WRIttEN NOtIFICAtION (WItHIN 7 DAYS) YES NO
CIRCLE ONE
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
51
8.6 Notification of particular hazardous work
52
The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 require employers as well as
the person who controls a place of work to provide at least 24 hours’ notice to the
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about particularly hazardous work
as defined below. Notifications of hazardous work assist the Ministry’s workplace
health and safety services to plan workplace visits to promote the prevention of
harm to all persons at, or in the vicinity of, a place of work.
Notify the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment by either:
 › submitting a Notification of Particular Hazardous Work online, or
 › downloading the notification form and posting or faxing it to the Ministry’s 
nearest office nearest to the site of the hazardous work.
8.7 Notifiable work as defined by the Regulations
(a) Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Health and
Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998:
(b) Any logging operation or tree-felling operation, being an operation that is 
undertaken for commercial purposes:
(c) Any construction work of one or more of the following kinds:
 – Work where workers could fall five metres or more, excluding work on a 
two-storey house, or work on a power or telephone line, or work carried
out from a ladder only, or maintenance or repair work of a minor or routine
nature.
 – The erection or dismantling of scaffolds from which a person could fall five
metres or more.
 – Every excavation more than 1.5 metres deep in which people are required to
work and which is deeper than it is wide at the top.
 – Any form of tunnel or drive where workers work underground, irrespective
of timbering or support.
 – Those excavations where the excavated face is steeper than one horizontal
to two vertical.
 – Any construction work where explosives are used or stored.
 – Work such as diving, where construction workers breathe air or any
other gas that has been compressed or is under pressure.
 – Lifts of half a tonne (500 kg) or more a vertical distance of five metres
or more carried out by use of a lifting appliance other than by a mobile
crane, excavator or forklift.
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Shackles moused
Clear of power lines
Hook latch functioning
Slings certified
Outriggers fully extended
Slew area clear
1c Incorrect crane set up M Qualified operator and dogman to set up
Crane certified
Schedule work for low traffic flow time.
Hi viz, helmets and safety footwear for all workers.
work area to control pedestrians and traffic. Stop/go
lollipops and footpath fences and signs.
1a traffic M Confine job to parking precinct. Cordon area with
safety cones and post watch persons at each end of 
E/I/M List the control methods required to ELIMINAtE,
ISOLAtE or MINIMISE each SIGNIFICANt hazard.
Ben theary
josh Holmes
t/A COMPLEtED BY:
jack Rippen
1b Pedestrians M As above for 1a
SEQUENCE OF BASIC STEPS POTENTIAL SIGNIFICANT HAZARDS HAZARD CONTROL METHOD
Straight Up Construction Ltd 01 june 2010
cause harm and what can go wrong.  
List the potential SIGNIFICANt hazards
beside each step. Focus on what can 
HZD
NO
SIGNAGE REQUIRED Hazard cones (×20), signs (footpath closed) (×2), stop/go lollipops (×2)
PLANt REQUIRED Crane (×2), man cage, glass suction lifter, tag line. 2t slings (×4)
PPE REQUIRED Safety helmets, safety boots, hi-viz vests (orange), fall arrest harness (×2), inertia reels
(×2), 1.2m fence panels (×8)
Wellington
Glade Apartments
Wakefield St 
between bumpers; outriggers to fully extend
to edge of precinct.
1 Set up cranes – on north side of parking
precinct with cabs facing end to end; 3m gap 
process.)
List the steps required to complete the
job. (Follow the flow of the product or the 
StEP
NO
Street.
Removal and replacement of damaged window panels
on eighth floor apartment (north end). Site in tory 
JOB DESCRIPTION PROJECT/SITE EMPLOYER DATE
■■ Task analysis worksheet – Example 1
8.8   Task analysis examples
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
3a Manual handling I Attempt to lift with crane
2c Falling loads I Panels secured in A-frames
2b Pedestrians M As above for 1a
3 Workers in man cage on #1 crane to remove
damaged window units from building using
suction glass lifter attached on #2 crane
2 Delivery of glass units to site. Eight sheets
to be stacked in A frame
2a traffic M As above for 1a
53
SEQUENCE OF BASIC STEPS POTENTIAL SIGNIFICANT HAZARDS HAZARD CONTROL METHOD
54
In the event of a fall suspension, lower immediately to
ground
Workers in man cage to attach inertia reel and
harness to crane hook
4e Falling loads I Ensure suction frame securely attached. Keep area
below clear
4d Dropped tools I/E Ensure all tools have lanyard attached. Keep area
below clear
4c Man cage and load swinging I tag lines
Lock off man cage to building
4b Dropped objects – foot/head injury M Safety boots, safety helmets
4a Manual handling – heavy lifts E All lifting to be with crane
In the event of a fall suspension, lower immediately to
ground
Workers in man cage to attach inertia reel and
harness to crane hook
Ensure suction frame securely attached. Keep area
below clear
Ensure all tools have lanyard attached. Keep area
below clear
5 Remove damaged window units from site.
Remove crane from site
5a Manual handling – heavy lifts E All lifting to be with crane
4g Wind/rain conditions Cancel lift
3g Wind/rain conditions E Cancel lift
M
M
4f Working at height
Suspension trauma
3f Working at height
Suspension trauma
3e Falling loads I
M
3d Dropped tools I
M
3c Spinning load hitting building I tag line to be used
3b Falling lifting gear I Certified chains (single drop chain from hook)
4 Fit replacement window units using man cage
on #1 crane and suction frame on #2 crane
suction glass lifter to be suspended on the
hook and clear the soffit 
An offset attachment bracket has been
supplied by Acme Cranes to enable the 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
5c Falling loads I Panels secured in A-frames
Schedule work for low traffic flow time. Hi viz for
workers and stop/go signs.
5b traffic and pedestrians M/I Confine job to parking precinct. Cordon area with
safety fences and post watch persons at each end
of work area to control pedestrians and traffic. 
■■ Team sign off (all team members working under this task analysis to sign)
Name:
Signature:        Date:  DD  /  MM  /  YYYY
Name:
Signature:        Date:  DD  /  MM  /  YYYY
Name:
Signature:        Date:  DD  /  MM  /  YYYY
Name:
Signature:        Date:  DD  /  MM  /  YYYY
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
55
■■ Task Analysis Worksheet – Blank Form
56
each SIGNIFICANt hazard.
E/I/M List the control methods required
to ELIMINAtE, ISOLAtE or MINIMISE 
List the potential SIGNIFICANt hazards beside each step.
Focus on what can cause harm and what can go wrong.  
HZD
NO
the process.)
List the steps required to complete the
job. (Follow the flow of the product or 
StEP
NO
SEQUENCE OF BASIC STEPS POTENTIAL SIGNIFICANT HAZARDS HAZARD CONTROL METHOD
SIGNAGE REQUIRED
BY:
PLANt REQUIRED
PPE REQUIRED t/A
COMPLEtED 
JOB DESCRIPTION PROJECT/SITE EMPLOYER DATE
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
8.9   Publications
■■ Legislation — Acts
 › Fire Service Act 1975
 › The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 › Accident Compensation Act 2001
 › Building Act 2004
 › Electricity Act 1992
 › Employment Relations Act 2000
 › Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
 › Resource Management Act 1991
■■ Legislation — Regulations 
 › Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998
 › Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995
 › Health and Safety in Employment (Pressure Equipment, Cranes, and Passenger 
Ropeways) Regulations 1999
 › Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010
■■ Australian and New Zealand Standards
Confined space AS 2865
Cranes (including hoists and winches) – Serials hoists and winches AS 1418.2
Cranes Hoists and Winches – Safe Use – Mobile Elevating Work
Platforms.
Eye protection AS/NZS 1337
Industrial Fall arrest systems and devices. Part 1: Harnesses and
Ancillary Equipment 
Fibre ropes – three strand howser – laid and eight strand parted AS 4142.2
Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design,
construction and installation
Industrial fall arrest systems and devices AS/NZS 1891.1-3
AS 2550.10 
AS/NZS 1891.1
AS/NZS 1657
Industrial rope access systems AS/NZS 4488.1–2 
Occupational protective helmets AS/NZS 1801: 1997  
Occupational safety footwear AS/NZS 2210.1 
Portable ladders, metal AS 1892.1
Portable ladders, timber AS 1892.2, NZS 3609
Protective/safety helmets AS/NZS 1800, NZS 2264
Rigging screws and turnbuckles AS 2319 
Safety mesh AS/NZS 4389
Safety standards for high visibility clothing EN 471
Safety standard for rough terrain forklift trucks NZS/ANSI/ASME B56.6
Scaffold couplers and accessories AS 1576.2
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
57
Scaffolding: General Requirements AS/NZS 1576.1
58
Scaffold planks AS 1577
Scaffolding: Prefabricated and tube and coupler scaffolding AS/NZS 1576.3
Scaffolding – suspended scaffolding AS 1576.4
Scaffolding – Prefabricated splitheads and trestles AS/NZS 1576.5
Scaffolding – Metal tube-and-coupler scaffolding AS/NZS 1576.6
Steel wire ropes (SWR) AS 3569 
General structural design and design loadings for buildings NZS 4203
Specification for scaffold planks NZS 3620 
temporary roof edge protection for housing and residential
buildings.
temporary edge protection – Roof edge protection – Installation
and dismantling
New Zealand timber Grading Rules NZS 3631
timber-framed buildings Standard and Handbook Set NZS 3604
AS/NZS 4994.1
AS/NZS 4994.2:2009
■■ European Standards
 › ISO 16368:2010 Mobile elevating work platforms – Design, calculations, safety 
requirements and test methods
 › ISO 16653-1:2008 Mobile elevating work platforms – Design, calculations, safety 
requirements and test methods relative to special features – Part 1: MEWPs
with retractable guardrail systems
 › ISO 16653-2:2009 Mobile elevating work platforms – Design, calculations, safety
requirements and test methods relative to special features – Part 2: MEWPs
with non-conductive (insulating) components
 › ISO 16653-3:2011 Mobile elevating work platforms – Design, calculations, safety
requirements and test methods relative to special features – Part 3: MEWPs for
orchard operations
 › British Standard BS 8411 Code of Practice for Safety Nets on Construction
Sites and other works
 › British Standard BS 4429 Specification for rigging screws and turnbuckles for
general engineering, lifting purposes and pipe hanger applications
 › BS EN 1263:1 (2002) Industry Safety Nets: Safety requirements, test methods
 › BS EN 1263-2:2002 Safety Requirements for the Positioning Limits
 › BS 3913:1982 Industrial safety nets
 › PAS 59:2004 – Filled collective fall arrest systems
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
■■ Codes of Practice
 › Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Tree Work Part One: Arboriculture 
www.osh.govt.nz/publications/booklets/arboriculture-part1/arboriculturepart1.pdf
 › Approved Code of Practice for Cranes www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/10.
shtml 
 › Approved Code of Practice for Safety in Excavation and Shafts For Foundations
www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/135.shtml 
 › Approved Code of Practice for Training Operators and Instructors of Powered
Industrial Lift Trucks (Forklifts) www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/527.shtml 
 › Code of Practice for Manual Handling www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/68.
shtml
 › Approved Code of Practice for Power-Operated Elevating Work Platforms www.
osh.dol.govt.nz/order/catalogue/pdf/platforms.pdf
■■ Best practice guidelines
 › Building Code Handbook www.dbh.govt.nz/building-code-compliance-documents 
 › A principal’s guide to contracting to meet the Health and Safety in Employment
Act 1992 www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/contracting-guide.shtml 
 › Best Practice Guidelines for Demolition in New Zealand www.dol.govt.nz/
consultation/demolition-guidelines/index.asp 
 › Keeping Safe at Work – A Guide for Employees – Employee rights under the
Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 www.osh.govt.nz/publications/
factsheets/keepingsafe.html
 › Managing Health and Safety: A guide for employers – Ministry of Business, 
Innovation and Employment – New Zealand www.osh.govt.nz/publications/
booklets/managing-health-safety-guide/01.asp 
 › Best Practice Guidelines for Elevating Work Platforms in the Horticultural
Industry www.dol.govt.nz/consultation/ewps-horticulture/ewps-
horticultural_13.asp
 › First Aid for Workplaces: A Good Practice Guide www.osh.govt.nz/publications/
booklets/first-aid-2009/first-aid-2009_02.asp
 › Best Practice Guidelines for Industrial Rope Access in New Zealand
 › Best Practice Guideline for Working on Roofs
 › Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand www.osh.govt.nz/
publications/booklets/scaffolding-09/scaffolding_05b.asp 
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
59
8.10  List of illustrations
60
Figure 1 A worker restrained in a boom-style elevating work platform (EWP)
Figure 2 Selection of work equipment linked to hierarchy of controls
Figure 3 Covered scaffolding on a single-storey building
Figure 4 Scaffolding on a residential building
Figure 5 Scaffolding on a multi-storey building
Figure 6 Scaffolding used as edge protection on a roof 
Figure 7 Example of edge protection on a roof of a residential home
Figure 8 A worker restrained in a scissor lift 
Figure 9 A worker restrained in a boom-style elevating work platform
Figure 10 Example of how safety mesh should be safely installed
Figures 11 and 12 two examples of installed safety mesh
Figure 13 Minor roof repairs can be undertaken with work positioning 
Figure 14 Working within an arc below the inertia reel
Figure 15 Required minimum clearance below the level of the line anchorages
Figure 16 Example of a poorly placed anchor point and rope that is too long
Figure 17 Example of a poorly placed anchor point that leads to swing back
Figure 18 to access stock a worker uses a step platform with barriers on all sides
Figure 19 Folding platform (with no edge protection)
Figure 20 Folding platform (with handrail)
Figure 21 Folding platform (with guardrail)
Figure 22 Podium platform with guardrail on three sides
Figure 23 A hop-up trestle
Figure 24 A worker stands on a trestle scaffold
Figure 25 A worker uses a step platform
Figure 26 A plasterer uses stilts to comfortably reach above the door frames
Figure 27 A worker falls into a soft landing system
Figure 28 Correct – user maintaining three points of contact with the ladder
Figure 29 Incorrect – user over-reaching and not maintaining three points of contact
Figure 30 Correct – steps facing work activity
Figure 31 Incorrect – steps are side-on to work activity
Figure 32 Maintain three points of contact climbing the ladder
Figure 33 typical principal and contractor arrangement
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
61
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING AT HEIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND

Lifelines/safety lines

Australia/New Zealand Standards that apply are:

  •  AS/NZ1891.2:2001 – Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Part 2 Horizontal lifeline and rail systems
  • AS/NZ1891.2 Supp 1:2001 – Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Part 2 Horizontal lifeline and rail systems, Supplement 1 Prescribed configurations for horizontal lifelines (Supplement to AS/NZS 1891.2:2001)
  • AS/NZ1891.4:2009 – Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Part 4: Selection, use and maintenance
  •  AS/NZ4488.1:1997 – Industrial rope access systems – Part 1: Specifications
  •  AS/NZ4488.2:1997 – Industrial rope access systems – Part 2: Selection, use and maintenance.

Prescribed systems

A prescribed system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with  AS/NZS 1891.2 Supp 1:2001. The end anchor loadings on these systems may reach up to 63.3 kN. 

Proprietary systems

A proprietary system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with a manufacturer’s specification and engineered to withstand the required forces. These systems usually include shock-absorbing components that reduce the end anchor loadings of the lifeline. Some proprietary systems are installed with top-fixed anchors that depend partly on the strength of the roof sheeting.

Refer to AS/NZ 1891 parts 1–4 and the manufacturer/designer instructions and/or specifications.

Engineered systems

An engineered system is a lifeline that is designed and installed by a qualified structural engineer. These are not as common as proprietary systems but will accommodate most fall arrest systems. 

 

To quote from 'Industrial Rope Access in New Zealand: Best Practice Guidelines' pages 26 & 27

 

5.5 Lifelines  

Horizontal lifelines function differently to single anchor points as the end anchors on the lifeline are subjected to magnified shock loads in the event of a fall.  Lifelines are not rated for abseiling.  Their function is limited to providing fall arrest support when working at height such as protection while accessing abseil anchor points around a roof.

All horizontal and vertical lifelines should be tagged and re-certified annually to remain compliant with AS/NZS 1891.4:2009. At installation, installers should provide evidence of their certified installer status and supply a Producer Statement (PS3) to the building owner to verify that the lifeline system has been installed correctly.

Most horizontal (or vertical) lifelines will fall into one of the following categories:

  • prescribed systems
  • proprietary systems
  • engineered systems. 

Prescribed systems 

A prescribed system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with AS/NZS 1891.2 Supp 1:2001.  The end anchor loadings on these systems may reach up to 63.3kN. 

Proprietary systems

A proprietary system is a lifeline that is designed and installed in accordance with a manufacturer’s specification.  These systems usually include shock-absorbing components that reduce the end anchor loadings of the lifeline. However, all the anchors that support proprietary lifelines are still subject to the same design, installation, certification and testing criteria as stated in this section.  Therefore, all anchors that support proprietary lifelines must be designed by a chartered professional engineer (CPEng). 

Engineered systems 

An engineered system is a lifeline that is designed and installed under the direction of a qualified structural engineer. These are not as common as proprietary systems but will accommodate most fall arrest situations. 

 

We are currently in the porcess of adding products to this category. Please check back again soon.

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