Are rails an adequate risk control measure to prevent falls?
We have a wash waste water pit with a rail on two sides; however, workers still get in and stand on the edge to move the pipe around to suck up the water at the end of the day after washing the floor. Should we have any kind of grate or cover, or are the rails an adequate risk control measure.
Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) (Act) sets out the primary duty of a PCBU to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers while they are at the business or undertaking.
When carrying out these duties, a PCBU must ensure the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures, safe systems of work, and the maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety.
Although suitable guard railing is in place to prevent falls from elevated workspaces, installation of a grate over the wash pit may be considered a reasonably practicable step to assist in satisfying your work health and safety obligations. This is subject to your own assessment of the use of the pit, access requirements, and consideration of the risks and hazards in any work practises in place.
The wash pits design should try to minimise the need for any person to enter the pit. Failing that, any access point should provide sufficient space for the person to enter safely by minimising changes in the floor level, and establishing good housekeeping practises to keep the work environment clean and free of hazards.