Health and Safety

Taking care with materials, equipment and work procedures and dealing with hazards.

Guard rails

Guard rails should be used at all unprotected edges of working platforms and floor openings where any possibility of falling exists.

Guard rail systems should:

  • have a top rail height between 900-1100 mm above working/walking level
  • have a midrail (Acceptable Solution F4/AS1, para 1.2.6 requires a maximum vertical opening of 460 mm between intermediate rails)
  • have a toeboard wherever there is a risk of tools or materials falling (Acceptable Solution F4/AS1, para 1.2.6 requires a minimum toeboard height of 225 mm)
  • be able to withstand a 0.89 kN force applied outwards or downwards within 50 mm of the top edge of the guard rail system (US Department of Labor recommendation)
  • not cause puncturing or lacerations to workers or clothing to snag
  • not cause a projection hazard, for example by overhanging an end baluster
  • be installed as a chain, gate or removable section where access for personnel or hoisting materials is required.

Where a working platform is located above a public thoroughfare, screens or projecting platforms should be erected to prevent the possibility of tools or materials falling down onto people using the thoroughfare.

Updated: 25 September 2013