OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 41 Work Requiring Rope Access

Sections 809 and 810 Components of the plan

The purpose of the rope access safe work plan is to have the employer address a variety of issues that will help ensure the safety of workers involved in the rope access work. Section 8 of the OHS Regulation requires that the plan be in writing and available to affected workers. The plan must be available at the work site before work with a risk of falling begins.

A unique rope access safe work plan need not be created for each work site. If an employer faces the same hazards at multiple work sites, and the rope access equipment and rescue procedures are identical at each work site, then a single plan applicable to all work sites is acceptable. Alternatively, an employer can create a single rope access safe work plan that covers all of the hazards likely to be encountered during normal operations. Only in the event of a unique work situation arising would a new or amended rope access safe work plan be required.

Before occupational rope access work begins at a work site, a written hazard assessment as required by Part 2 must be completed. This helps to establish the appropriateness of using rope access techniques, identifies hazards, and should help the employer to determine how the hazards will be eliminated or controlled.

The rope access safe work plan needs to describe the rope access system that will be used. This helps ensure that workers use the correct equipment, that the correct equipment is on site, and that the system is set up correctly.

The procedures used to assemble, maintain, inspect, use, and disassemble the rope access system must be part of the rope access safe work plan. These procedures serve as a source of reference information when questions arise and they can help reinforce best practices.

Describing the duties of each member of the work team helps workers understand what they are responsible for, and what they are not. The duties assigned must be consistent with the workers’ level of training and skills.

All personal protective equipment must be listed in the plan. This is not limited solely to rope access equipment. If respiratory protective equipment, protective eyewear, crampons, avalanche transceiver, etc. are required to perform the work safely, then this personal protective equipment needs to be specified in the plan. Listing this equipment in the plan serves as a check that each hazard identified in the hazard assessment has, to the extent necessary, been addressed by some type of personal protective equipment. The list can also serve as an equipment checklist to ensure that all the correct personal protective equipment has been taken to the work site.

The emergency response plan is an essential part of the overall plan. This plan deals not only with the direct hazards associated with working at height, but also all the other hazards identified in the hazard assessment. For example, what is the response plan in the event of extreme weather, a fire, a medical emergency, etc.?