How to know if your access covers meet Australian Standards
What are the Australian standards for access covers?
In Australia, access covers are subject to AS3996-2006 Access Covers & Grates, and AS1891.4.2009 Industrial Fall Arrest Systems & Devices. They are also included under state based codes of practice for working safely at heights, as well as the Work Health Safety and Environmental Policy Act 2011.
What are the signs of a non-compliant access cover?
The Australian standards for access covers have evolved over the decades. What was considered an acceptable access cover in the 1990s, for example, is different to what is acceptable today.
Because of this, older covers often do not meet current standards. The following are indicators that your access covers may not meet the latest standards.
1. Risk of falls from height
All access covers must now include adequate protection from falls.
If your cover features non-rated fall arrest devices, such as rope nets then it may not be compliant. If your cover does not include a fall arrest of any kind, then it is likely breaching access cover compliance standards.
Handrails are a common method of providing protection. But, they present another series of standards that need to be complied to, including design elements and deflection testing.
2. Possibility of weight-related injuries
One person should be able to safely open an access cover without assistance.
Excessively heavy components can cause back and muscle injuries to operators. They can also cause significant harm if the cover were to close unexpectedly on persons.
A spring assisted strut should be implemented, so no lift is above 20kg.
3. Visible or hidden tripping hazards
To be compliant, your access covers should not feature any tripping hazards.
Common issues that lead to tripping and falls include raised edges and components. As well as raised handles, locks and hinges. And access covers which are above concrete level.
The surface of the cover too must be non-slip and safe.
4. Confined entry spaces
Entry spaces should be clear and unobstructed.
Entry spaces are dangerous if they are confined. If they feature obstructions. Or if they in any other way make it difficult or unsafe for persons to enter.
Non-compliant access covers are also sometimes incorrectly fitted.
5. Escaping odours
Your access cover should prevent the escape or leak of odours.
Leaking odours can be indicative of missing gaskets, cover frames sitting atop converters without being cast in, and gaps and holes in the access cover itself.
If your cover is not containing odours, you should get it checked immediately.
Replacing old or non-compliant access covers
Non-compliant access covers pose risks to workers as well as the general public.
If there is an incident and the resulting investigation finds the cover to be non-compliant, then the responsible party may be liable.
Therefore it is important that water authorities, councils, local government, and other relevant groups ensure that their access covers are compliant and safe for use.
If you believe your access covers are non-compliant, contact the team at OdourPro.
We can supply you with quality replacement covers, which are engineered to adhere to all Australian Standards for access covers.
Our access covers are:
- Customisable to suit specific needs
- Built to Work Health Safety (WHS) regulations
- Fully compatible with existing facilities
- Fast to install
- Backed by our lifetime guarantee
Our access covers ensure you get an effective and reliable replacement. One which will provide you with years of service life.
About the author: OdourPro
At OdourPro we've been supplying Australians with odour reduction and management systems for more than 25 years. Over which time we've built our reputation on trusted, reliable products.
We specialise in custom systems which meet individual requirements. So whatever your access cover or odour containment needs, we can create a system that fits your situation.
OdourPro on 21 November 2016
Do your access covers meet Australian Standards? Discover the common signs of non-compliant access covers here ...Read more