‘Provide compliant roof safety system to Australian Standards’ – this is a generic clause typically included by many architects and building designers in their specifications when providing a building design to their clients.

However, inclusion of this clause in the building design paperwork will not cover the designer’s responsibility. Under Work Health and Safety laws, it is a building designer’s duty to ensure that any structure being designed to be used as a workplace will be without risk to the health and safety of people.

Therefore, those involved in the design of a building should not leave the design of critical elements such as height safety to the builder as it may leave them exposed in the event of an accident. If an incident were to ever take place, and it was found that insufficient consideration had been given to the correct design and specification of compliant roof safety systems at design stage, the above clause may not cover the building designer.

In legal proceedings that follow such incidents, the designer’s role in appropriately addressing all health and safety risks in the design of the building will be questioned. This would include height safety, as falls from height are one of the most common forms of workplace fatalities.

As nationally respected height safety design consultants and system manufacturers, Sayfa Group works closely with designers and architects on commercial projects all over Australia. Sayfa’s complete FREE* system design, scope of works and cost analysis services help building designers take the guesswork out of the design process and assist them with regulatory compliance.

Read this whitepaper from Sayfa Group for more details.

Work Health & Safety Strategy

Sayfa Group also recommends Safe Work Australia’s Work Health & Safety Strategy as required reading for architects and building designers. This document not only prioritises healthy and safe design but also reaffirms the need for structures, plant and substances to be designed to ‘eliminate or minimise hazards and risks before they are introduced into the workplace’.

The strategy also states: “Australian work health and safety legislation requires that all design parties consult, cooperate and coordinate their activities, so far as is reasonably practicable, rather than seeking to transfer or delegate responsibility to others, or assuming that someone else is taking care of a work health and safety matter.”

Therefore, inserting a generic clause in the paperwork will not cover the building designer. Designers are required to be up to date with Australian WHS laws and to design systems in accordance with them.

The Work Health & Safety Strategy additionally addresses the need for designers to take into account factors such as product lifecycle, safe use and installation as well as ease of maintenance of equipment during the operational phase of the building or plant.

Further information on safe design requirements may be found on the Safe Work Australia website – Safe Design.