February 03 2023 0Comment
Problems Working Height Australia - Scaffolding Stronghold

Problems with Working at Height in Australia

There is currently a massive issue with working at height in Australia. The quality of work is poor and poor work is being accepted as the “Industry Standard”…times need to change! People need to be held accountable and as height safety specialists we need to work together to educate each other, the community, and the clients for whom we do work for.

Together we can bring the standard up to where it should and needs to be. We as a community need to be the driving force, driving standards up and ensuring people remain safe.

Lack of Training & Understanding

Unfortunately, as some may know throughout Australia there is no nationally recognised training for the installation of fall protection devices or systems. Yes, there is in-house training but there is no formal training. This means untrained people can potentially go and install safety systems put in place to keep people safe and save lives. Companies should provide training, but these small “companies” are not doing that nor being held accountable. Training needs to be thorough and proper. We also need to have Australian-recognised qualifications for the installation of fall protection devices and temporary fall protection nationwide. Additionally, installers need to be able to also show competency in what they are installing.


We all should be working to the AS/NZS4494.2 standard when it comes to installing temporary edge protection but many of the smaller companies don’t even know what the standard is. The standard is there to keep people safe and make sure everyone is working to the highest safety standards. Currently, the inspectors don’t have enough resources to check every project, nor would this be viable. This is where we as a community need to come together and help educate each other. Working together we can bring the standards up and ensure we are working to the AS/NSZ4994.2 protecting all stakeholders involved.

Underpriced Cowboys

But why does the quality drop? The quality drops because:

People who aren’t trained and aren’t working to the industry standards offer projects for a lesser price as they take shortcuts. This results in the quality of edge protection installations to drop and the risk of injury to increase. These construction cowboys are putting price before safety! They frequently work in an unsafe manner rushing jobs and working dangerously.

Those people who offer cheap edge protection, are they working safely? Have they received any training? Are they following the manufacturer’s instructions? Are they installing as per the manufacturer’s instructions? Are they using tested products? Are they maintaining the products and their equipment? So many questions but with one answer, no! Therefore, people can undercut the price compared to bigger companies that offer a safer alternative.

With a lack of training comes a lack of understanding. When things go wrong, they can go wrong quickly. Very few people have a rescue plan, and even more, people don’t have a rescue plan for an unconscious casualty. You should always prepare for the worst-case scenario. Many companies have nothing in place for a worker fall during the installation of the temporary edge rail or get in injured on the roof. How do they plan on getting the victim down to the ground? How do they plan on getting the victim down if they are unconscious? People forget should you fall whilst wearing a harness you only have a maximum of 30 minutes to get the victim to the ground before the onset of suspension trauma occurs. This is life-threatening. As a business, we have a duty of care to keep people safe that’s why at Stronghold Hire, we ensure a rescue kit is always on hand and that all employees have been given the training to use it should the need arise.

Risk of Prosecution

The smaller companies often are out there working with no insurance, putting themselves, the contractor, and the building owner at risk of prosecution. Everyone has a responsibility.

We at Stronghold Hire can put your mind at ease with our 20-million-dollar public liability insurance, 25 years of scaffold experience, and certification to current Australian standards of each edge protection we provide, regardless of how big or small it may be.

Scaffolding Hire Stronghold - Safety

Life is Priceless

Lastly, I would love to say price doesn’t play a factor in keeping people safe and protecting lives, however far too often I hear people say it’s too expensive, this is where we as a community need to educate the customer as to exactly what they are paying for. They are paying for the experience, training, specialist equipment, insurance, a higher form of fall protection, and peace of mind. If we work together to educate, we can work together to ensure people STAY SAFE!

If you are interested in our edge protection service, please email Felix at felix@strongholdhire.com.au or contact us online for a free quote.


We have over 20 years combined experience in the scaffolding and labour hire industry with clients ranging from government bodies and large construction companies through to smaller subcontractors such as painters, plumbers, lift installers, electricians, roof tilers and renderers. We are one of the leading providers of scaffolding labour hire throughout the Sydney area and our experienced and qualified scaffolders can ensure your projects are erected and dismantled on time and on budget.

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