Controlling risks associated with workers accessing mezzanine floors
The purpose of this Safety Alert is to highlight the potential falls risk of workers accessing mezzanine floors.
Falls are a leading cause of injury in the workplace. A system of physical fall protection must be provided for the workplace when accessing mezzanine areas for work or storage purposes.
Even from a relatively low height, a fall can cause death or injury such as a fracture, spinal cord injury, concussion and brain damage.
Appropriate access and egress must also be available as well as identifying what weight restrictions may apply to the storage area.
Recent findings of unguarded mezzanines that have been observed during routine workplace inspections have shown that:
- Hazard identification has not been undertaken
- Workplace has outgrown established capacity and storage of products becomes much more difficult subsequently these mezzanine areas become utilised for the business expansion
- Employers were unaware of their obligations within the workplace to their statutory duty of care to workers (Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act section 19)
- As fall protection systems have improved in terms of the cost, availability and range, what is considered reasonably practicable, in controlling the risk of falls, has also changed. NT WorkSafe considers it reasonably practicable for risk controls to be implemented prior to work being carried out in these areas.
- Determine what the storage requirements might be for the business. Can goods be stored in another location to eliminate the need for working at heights?
- Can storage area be accessed via mechanical aids, eliminating the need for workers to physically access these elevated mezzanine storage areas?
- A risk assessment should be conducted before commencing any work to identify all hazards, measures are then to be put in place to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with the identified hazards
- Should the mezzanine be required, workers must be consulted, trained and supervised adequately.
- Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (Section 19)
- Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations 2011 (Part 4.4 Falls)
This Safety Alert contains safety information following inquires made by NT WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of NT WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident. NT WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up-to-date and does not accept any liability for the information in this report or as to its use.