The Importance Of Edge Protection Systems In The Australian Construction Industry

Construction locations are among Australia’s most hazardous workplaces. Unfortunately, accidents and fatalities are all too common, and falls from heights are one of the primary causes. Edge protection systems are one method for mitigating this danger. These systems provide a tangible barrier to prevent accidents from height and are an essential construction site safety feature. This article will discuss the significance of edge protection systems in Australia construction sector.

Legal Requirements

Employers in Australia are required to assure the welfare of their employees. This includes the provision of a secure working environment and the use of appropriate safety apparatus. The Work Health and Safety Act establishes the legal requirements for workplace safety, such as edge protection systems.

Employers are required by Section 19(1) of the WHS Act to provide a secure working environment, including safe work systems, plants, and substances. Section 21(2) of the Act states that employers must provide information, training, instruction, and supervision to ensure the health and safety of their workers.

Section 36 of the WHS Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations) sets out the specific requirements for edge protection systems. This includes using edge protection systems for any work carried out at the height of two meters or more unless it is not reasonably practicable.

Types Of Edge Protection Systems

There are several types of edge protection systems available in Australia. The most common are:

  • Guardrails – A permanent or temporary barrier that prevents people from falling off an edge. Guardrails can be made from various materials, including metal and plastic.
  • Safety Nets – A netting system that catches a person who falls from a height. Safety nets can be installed underneath the work area or around the perimeter of the work area.
  • Catch Platforms – A platform installed below the work area to catch a person who falls from a height. Catch platforms are usually used in conjunction with other edge protection systems.
  • Scaffolding – A temporary structure providing access to the work area and as edge protection. Scaffolding is commonly used in construction sites.

Benefits Of Edge Protection Systems

The greatest advantage is that they prevent falls from a height. In Australia, falls from height are the primary cause of occupational fatalities. By using edge protection systems, employers can significantly reduce the risk of falls and, therefore, the risk of workplace fatalities.

Edge protection systems also improve worker morale and productivity. Workers who feel safe and protected are likelier to work efficiently and with greater focus. In addition, edge protection systems can reduce the risk of injury, reducing the likelihood of workers taking time off work due to injury.

Finally, edge protection systems can also reduce the risk of damage to property and equipment. Falls from height can cause significant damage to both property and equipment. By using edge protection systems, employers can reduce the risk of damage and the associated costs.


In conclusion, edge protection systems are a vital safety feature in the Australian construction industry. They provide a physical barrier to prevent falls from height, one of Australia’s leading causes of workplace fatalities. Employers have a legal obligation to safeguard the safety of their employees, and employing edge protection systems is an important part of that. The benefits of edge protection systems include improved worker morale and productivity, reduced risk of injury, and reduced risk of damage to property and equipment. By investing in edge protection systems, employers can create a safer working environment for their workers and improve their bottom line.


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