Revision of AS/NZS 1891.4:2009 – Industrial fall arrest systems and devices. Part 4: Selection Use and Maintenance.

Changes:- (not in order)

Preface - Rewrite to summarise the key changes. Probably cover key elements from philosophy of testing and updating the coverage of “reasonably practicable”.

Highlight main change in dynamic testing - test lanyard and dynamic load change.

Addition of “combination” harnesses

Update throughout - Change from 15kN to 12kN loading

Referenced documents  - Revise list to reflect new standard numbers / content.

Section 3 - Anchorages

Full update to reflect all changes in the revised AS/NZS5532 (perhaps to be AS/NZS1891.7)

Table 3.1 - Complete review to align with new anchor types and strengths. Will need reference to AS/NZS5532

3.1.2 - Update completely to reflect revision to AS/NZS5532

3.1.4 - Update to reflect AS/NZS1891.2 - HLL & rail systems

3.2.5 - Update to latest thinking on signage

Section 4 - Harnesses, Lanyards, Pole Straps & Fittings

Complete re-write to reflect the splitting out of each of the above components into separate Standards.

  • Harnesses (including combination harnesses)
  • Lanyards
  • Fittings
  • Ancillary Equipment

Section 5 - Fall Arrest Devices

Needs to be re-written to reflect the changes made in AS/NZS1891.3

Minimal changes expected.

Section 6 - Horizontal Lifelines & Rails

Needs to be re-written to reflect the changes made in AS/NZS1891.2

Changes will mainly relate to anchorages.

Sections 7 & 8 - Fall Clearance / Free Fall Distance

Text updating only - no significant changes

Section 9 - Inspection, Maintenance & Storage

General review and update required

Review equipment life span

Anchorage inspection review

Update Fall Arrest Devices to AS/NZS1891.3

Public Health and Safety:

The latest (2016) data on workplace fatalities (Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2016  - published by Safe Work Australia) details that Falls from Height contributed to 14% of worker fatalities in 2016 (25 fatalities) and 12% of those fatalities over the average 10 year period (2007 / 2016). This fatality rate is only second to fatalities from vehicle collisions (42% and 38% respectively).

Between 2007 and 2016 there were 63 fatalities in the Construction Services market and 29 in Building Construction.

The safe, correct use and maintenance of fall arrest equipment is essential to protect workers who are required to work at height. The fall arrest equipment used must be designed, tested and certified to conform to Australian Standards (AS/NZS1891.1 to AS/NZS1891.3) by the equipment manufacturers.

These standards have now been updated and expanded (now AS/NZS1891.1 to AS/NZS1891.6) and these changes in testing and performance standards need to reflect the additional changes required to be understood by the equipment user.

The safety of users is of prime importance and the period of “disconnect” between the manufacturing and user Standards must be minimised (if possible, eliminated). The proposed changes in 1891.4 will address this gap, for example, the key factor in the strength and durability has a major impact on the safety of the user.

Social and community impact (max 200 words)

Social and Community Impact:

Any person required to work at height is exposed to significant potential risk. It is therefore critical that those persons are adequately trained on how to manage those risk through the correct use and maintenance of the appropriate safety equipment - including the limitations of that equipment.

AS/NZS1891.4 is the most widely read document in the height safety industry and is the basis for the development of height safety training courses that cover the limitations as well as the correct use of equipment. It is also the main reference document for Work Cover authorities.

It is therefore seen as critical that this document is updated to reflect the changes that have been implemented in product design, manufacturing and testing.

This update should also be aligned to the SF015 document “Philosophy of Testing” which takes into consideration issues relating to “reasonable practicability” on the use and misuse of this safety equipment.

The ultimate effect on the community is to further reduce the level of fatalities currently occurring in industries where workers are required to undertake activities at height.

Environmental impact (max 200 words)

Environmental Impact

The revision of these standards will not have a quantifiable impact on the environment.

Competition (max 200 words)


The revisions to AS/NZS1891 Parts 1,2.3.5 and 6 set the manufacturing and testing standards for  height safety equipment - providing a level playing field for those interested in participating in that market - be they local or global manufacturers.

However, AS/NZS1891.4 - the “user standard” - provides the necessary information to ensure the information required to adequately train people in the art of safe working at height is available in an understandable form. All training organizations servicing this market will be updating their syllabus to ensure improved safety and 1891 compliance.

This Standard sets the minimum benchmark against which height safety training operations can be measured and against which the level of understanding of this training by trainee operators can be measured. It also provides overall guidance on the selection and use of all types of height safety equipment referenced in the 1891 Series. This Standards also covers a number of related areas such as Hierarchy of Control, Suspension Intolerance. Equipment Inspection etc.

AS/NZS1891.4 provides the benchmark for height safety training and is widely referenced as the encyclopedia for height safety practitioners.

Economic impact (max 200 words)

Economic Impact

The revision of AS/NZS1891.4 and its publication to the market place will have a number of economic benefits:-

  • The update of AS/NZS1891 - manufacturing and testing Standards (Parts 1,2,3,5 and 6) - are already driving the updating of safety equipment available to workers in the field.
  • The release of the updated user Standard will require the working at height training industry to procure the new document and then revise training materials and methods to drive the market towards worker re-certification - using equipment manufactured to the latest Standard.
  • Ultimately, the key objective is to achieve a reduction in the number of fatalities attributed to working at height incidents. Success with this objective will significantly reduce the economic cost to industry and its insurers (and to effected families).