Safety Tips for Working at Heights
One of the biggest problems in the construction industry is working at heights that continue to result in worker fatalities and significant injuries. Common accidents include falling through thin surfaces, from ladders, and from roofs. By working at a height, a person runs the risk of falling dangerously far and getting hurt if the right safety measures aren’t followed (for example, a fall through a shaky roof, down an unprotected lift shaft, or down stairwells). Wherever possible, workers should refrain from operating at heights. If they are unable to do so, they should ensure that their workspace is safe for both them and other site visitors by using the appropriate tools and safety precautions for the activity at hand.
Working at a height carries a significant risk of worker injury. Falling from a great height is one of the most frequent causes of workplace accidents and such an accident can be fatal.
Fall protection safety should be a top priority for managers and they should endeavour to lower employee risks. This blog shows how companies and their staff can lessen the risk of falling when working at heights by adopting easy & attainable measures.
Choose the Proper PPE:
Make sure you have the appropriate equipment if you need to use Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS). Despite their cost, all full-body harnesses that adhere to ANSI requirements will perform the same. But, the price difference may enable you to purchase an added benefit. Yes, sometimes it’s only a label, but other times its functionality you’re gaining or losing, such as additional D-rings, fireproof material, or arc-safe design.
Recognize the Usage of Fall Protection:
Three elements—frequency, duration, and job location—must be taken into account when evaluating when and what kind of fall protection is required. The frequency and length of work are described using two phrases.
Irregular: Work that is accomplished just once a month or less is considered infrequent.
Temporary: Efficient, brief work that can be finished in two hours or less.
Location of the Workplace: Identifying the location of the job site in relation to the hazard is necessary after figuring out the frequency and duration.
The easiest and most suggested option to keep your employees safe and in compliance with the law is to use a railing as active protection. Almost all types of rooftops can be equipped with railing systems, which include non-penetrating railing, parapet-mounted railing, metal roof railing, and more. Regardless of their type, rails are the fall protective measure that is easiest to use once installed.
Check your PPE:
Harnesses and lanyards should be inspected by a qualified individual at least once a year, if not more frequently (one with the knowledge to recognise the hazard AND the authority to correct it). Nonetheless, PPE needs to be checked by the user before each use. Anybody utilising the devices must be aware of what they are searching for, what is appropriate or inappropriate, and what to do in the case of an issue. It doesn’t have to take long to do a comprehensive pre-use inspection, but it is a crucial step that could mean the difference between life and death.
Avoid Smooth or Fragile Surfaces:
Verify the stability of the surfaces your workers will be working on and that they won’t crack with the weight of someone standing on them. Even if a PFAS is deployed, workers still risk injury if their platform gives way beneath their weight. Work cannot begin until the unstable working platform has been replaced. Scaffolding or elevated platforms with slippery surfaces need to be considered as well. Make sure employees have dressed appropriately for the task before sending them up to the platform and such actions will help to lessen the platform’s slipperiness.
Make Sure Lifts are used Properly:
We must talk about fall protection in the context of lifts because there are numerous ways for anything to go wrong when using a lift. One of the most common misconceptions is that no matter the time or height, everyone on a boom lift needs to be securely fastened off. In order to be “properly tied off,” someone must not only be fastened to the engineered anchor point created for the lift but also have a lanyard that will protect them at the height they are working at and not wrap it around the rails.
Properly Calculate Fall Distances:
It makes sense to think a fifteen-foot harness would be adequate for a twenty-foot fall. Yet, this would take into account neither the worker’s height nor any slack in the harness or anchor point brought on by the force of the fall. With his useless harness on, a worker six feet tall would have tumbled to the ground. A fall prevention strategy for working at heights is worthless if fall lengths are improperly assessed.
Conduct Regular Risk Assessments:
The risks and dangers connected to the work being done must always be known to both employers and employees. These risks might alter as the project progresses. Regular risk assessments allow for the identification and mitigation of new risks. To make sure that the required efforts are taken to minimise, avoid, or eliminate a danger, existing hazards should be re-evaluated.
Choose the Most Appropriate Anchor Locations:
Safety harnesses must be linked to anchor points that are sufficiently stable to hold up in the case of a fall. There is a lot of force in a fall. This is not a PVC pipe, nor is it a piece of ornamental steel on the roof. The following requirements must all be satisfied for an anchor point to be considered acceptable. It was designed and approved by a professional engineer to determine the anticipated loads or to manage a 5,000-pound load.
Implement all Safety Rules:
While operating at heights, managers must strictly enforce all safety precautions and fight the urge to loosen up their enforcement as time goes on. The risks do not go away with experience, and it is ultimately better for everyone if the regulations are strictly followed.