Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 10 No 4 Contents SPONSORED ARTICLE
FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 10 NUMBER 4 87
Proud past, strong future
RIS has had consistent,
sustainable growth since
its launch in the mid
1980s. The Sydney-based
company was established
to provide temporary edge
protection for buildings.
Within a decade, RIS was
installing height systems,
such as anchor and static
lines, and it has steadily added new product lines, such
as harnesses, lanyards and other height safety personal
An important change occurred in 2005, when RIS began
designing and developing its own range of height safety
solutions, rather than installing those made by others. The
launch of a large engineering/fabrication workshop enabled
RIS to design, make and install complex solutions.
RIS now has more than 80 full-time staff, and draws on a
pool of expert contractors. The company has offices in most
Australian states and territories, making it the largest domestic
provider of height safety and access solutions, with the
capability to service all parts of Australia.
RIS's industry presence has rapidly expanded: it works
across commercial and residential property, sporting and
entertainment complexes, and the energy, mining, utilities,
defence, transportation and infrastructure sectors.
Companies with below-ground projects also rely on RIS's
solutions -- for example, in underground mines to reduce risks
for those who work at heights in tunnels.
Rising standards for height safety
RIS provides a critical service to the Australian industry.
Working at height is classified as a high-risk activity, and it
remains a major contributor to industry accidents and fatalities.
Harmonised Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws
require that every business demonstrates that it has attempted,
so far as reasonably practicable, to minimise safety risks, and
to ensure that safety measures are regularly reviewed.
And yet, too many organisations ignore or underestimate
height safety risks, potentially exposing them and their officers
to significant penalties -- and corporate reputational damage --
for high-category offences, says Johnson.
'More employees are working at height, yet some
companies still do not have robust systems to identify and
minimise these risks to protect workers and contractors. Or
they have poor processes to demonstrate the organisation
attempted to reduce height safety risks.'
Johnson says that RIS's certification experts have attended
sites that have not had a height safety assessment for years.
'All too often, a particular part of a structure that is not used
regularly is forgotten about from a height safety perspective.
The structure has outdated height safety systems, does not
provide safe access on its roof, or [the organisation does not]
take steps to reduce or remove human error when working
at height. We still see too many anchor points and harnesses
used on very high structures when the safest approach is to
install walkways and handrail systems.'
RIS's site inspections, audits, certification services
and training help organisations to reduce these risks and
demonstrate that they have taken the appropriate steps to
do so. 'We provide an independent specialist opinion -- not
dissimilar to an external auditor -- of operational height safety
systems,' says Johnson. 'Our solutions help organisations
apply their duty of care to employees and contractors that
work at height and minimise their WHS risks.'
Johnson says that RIS is doing more work on existing building
structures, in addition to new ones. 'We're seeing owners and
facilities managers upgrade their buildings to ensure they comply
with the latest height safety standards. There is greater awareness
of the need to provide a safer workplace for those who work at
height on existing structures; however, more can always be done
to mitigate risks to make these workplaces safer.'
Demand for height safety solutions is growing as more
structures are having air conditioning, lighting and other
equipment placed on rooftops, to save floor space within the
building. Buildings that have a higher proportion of glass, and
thus a greater need for maintenance by those who work at
heights, is another growth driver.
'As the population increases and capital cities build upwards,
we will see more employees working at height,' says Johnson.
'It's incumbent upon organisations to ensure they provide the
safest possible working environment, and for the Australian
height safety industry to provide the highest quality products
and services, and to drive innovation. That is RIS's approach.'
Johnson is excited about RIS's potential. He joined as CEO
three years ago, due to the company's industry reputation
and the opportunities to improve safety in the industry. He
says that a greater focus on bespoke solutions, more work
on overseas projects, the addition of adjacent products and
services, and an expansion of RIS's training offering are
medium-term growth priorities.
'RIS intends to remain at the cutting edge of height safety
technology and set the standard in our field in Australia and
overseas. A passion for height safety has been the driving
value of RIS for three decades, and remains as strong as ever
as we serve more clients.'
To learn more about RISsafety, visit www.rissafety.com.
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