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Precautions You Should Take When Working At Height

You need to take the right precautions when working at height.

Firstly when working at height think about the risks around you; what safety precautions need to be prepared? You need to prepare these measures for any job in which someone could fall from one level to another.

When is it considered to be working at height?

  • Working at Height precautionsIf you are working on any form of a raised surface in which you can fall from the edge.
  • Working on a surface on which you can fall through due to its fragility.
  • If you are working near something that you can fall such as a hole or pit.
  • Working anywhere above the ground floor.

Risk Assessments and Planning

You cannot simply just jump into a job when you are working at heights. You need to plan the whole operation properly.  The correct workers should be supervising and conducting the job. The first thing you need to do is conduct a risk assessment. Once you have spotted the hazards and risks you will be able to put the relevant controls and PPE in place for the job.

You need to put emergency precautions in place; you need to inform your entire workforce of the precautions in case there is an accident or emergency.

Working Platforms

IPAFThe next consideration is the safety of the working platform. If scaffolding is required you need to ensure that it abides by the industry requirements for its guard rails and toe boards. You also need to make sure competent contractors inspect it and that they put it up.

Next, how are your workers going to get to the platform?  Is a ladder sufficient for the job or will you need an elevated platform to get to the work? Once you have made this decision you will need to consider the additional risks that implementing this will cause.

Well Trained Workers

Safety Harness TrainingThe most important element of working at height is having competent and skilled workers. You need to inform them of the risks and ensure they have the relevant training to make them qualified. Take a look below at some of the courses that 3B Training offer that will assist you with this:

What is the Best Method of Fall Protection?

The best method of fall protection is one that takes you completely away from a fall hazard. When working at height, it is important to select the correct fall protection for a certain task and have an understanding of why it is the best choice. A well-known system that is used to help select your PPE and precautions is the Hierarchy of Fall Protection or Hierarchy of Control.

What are the steps of the hierarchy of risk control?

1. Eliminating the hazard

Eliminate the risk of the fall hazard. How can I avoid working at height where feasible or use alternative equipment such as plant machinery in which there would be no risk of falling?

2. Passive Fall Protection

What physical barriers can you put in place between you and the hazard? In situations where you are working at height, how are you going to make sure you are not vulnerable to avoidable risks? In this situation, you are recommended to use a parapet or guardrail to lower the risk of a fall.

3. Fall Restraint Systems

Use PPE to restrict the worker’s movement to help them avoid the fall hazard. In situations where it is impossible to completely remove the risk of falling you will need to reduce it as much as possible. In these situations, you need to choose which fall protection system is right for the job.

4. Fall Arrest Systems

Use fall protection PPE to arrest the worker if they reach a fall hazard. The PPE will stop the worker from hitting the surface but they will be able to reach it to conduct their work.

5. Administrative Controls

Administrative controls are working procedures and practices that educate the worker on the fall hazard. People consider such preventative measures as the last option as they do not provide physical protection against a fall hazard.

What is a Fall Restraint System?

Fall ProtectionA fall restraint system is used to avert the user from reaching the fall risk; the user will be able to fulfil their task but would not be able to reach the point at which they could fall. A fall restraint would be used if you were to work at the edge of a hazard. For example, working at the edge of a large drop such as a rooftop.

When testing fall protection it is recommended that you test it on an inanimate load before putting a person at risk. You do not want to be in a situation in which the lanyard is too long and doesn’t fulfil its purpose. Usually, you would position the arrest 2 metres away from the hazard and the lanyard would be 1.5 metres.

What is a Fall Arrest System?

Fall ArrestUnlike the fall restraint, a fall arrest allows the user to move freely when completing a task. If the user does then fall they will hang from the drop and will have to be rescued or self-rescue. This form of PPE allows the user to work with little restrictions but may be in a situation in which they fall. The system will minimise but not completely eradicate injury.

You need to have a rescue plan in place when using the fall protection equipment.

The Myths Behind Working at Height

There is a lot of misconception surrounding health & safety when working at height. Take a look at our informative blog which helps to separate the fact from the fiction here.

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