What Does Safely Working at Height Mean?

Work Safety at Height

Safely working at height is critical to keep your employees from falling to the ground, the level below, or into holes like trenches and service pits. Ideally, we need to complete work at ground level, but in many instances, that is not possible(work safety at heights).

Because so much of the work we do requires employees to work at height, organizations must put in safety measures and train in safe practices.

In Australia, people who work at two meters (6.56 ft) or higher need to have the proper fall protection equipment that fits the type of fall hazards present in the working area. If the work is at a height of fewer than two meters, proper risk management that involves conducting a risk assessment is required to identify and eliminate or control risks(work safety at heights).

Conducting a risk assessment using a risk assessment template can help workers and safety officers determine the likelihood of occurrence and seriousness of the risks present when working at height and proactively formulate safety measures to protect themselves against the risks lead by working at heights.

How to Make Working at Height Safer?

The first line of defense against risks of working at height is to find what those risks are and come up with safety measures to protect the workers against such risks.

  1. Conduct a risk opinion to know what risks are involved not only with working at height but also with the job to be done. Consider doing a task on the ground if it can be done on the ground.
  2. Once the risks have been analyzed, implement the control measures whether they be engineering controls, administrative controls, reinforcing the use of proper PPE, or eliminating the sources of risks.
  3. Conduct toolbox talks at the start of every shift mainly in the construction industry, where working at height is common, to highlight safety.
  4. Empower employees with working at heights training in order for them to be capable when it comes to working at heights.
  5. Proactively conduct safety inspections to strengthen safe practices and to catch risks. The information collected during inspections can be used to improve the safety of working at height.

Common Causes of Accidents When Working at Height

Many activities that are considered working at height are risky because of the incidents that may happen and result in injury or fatality if there is a lack of safety precautions. Here are some sources of accidents when working at height(work safety at heights):

  • The slippery or wobbly surface that may cause slips and falls during or after certain weather conditions
  • Incorrect use of ladders or ladders that may not be working  in good order
  • Workers who may be outreach while working at heights
  • Fragile surfaces such as roofs may fail if there’s too much load
  • Failure of tools and equipment such as MEWPs
  • Losing balance while in an elevated position
  • Absence of PPE.

Some Safety Tips for Working at Heights

1. Use Railing

When you can, use the railing. The railing is a form of Passive protection, the easiest and most recommended way to keep your workers safe while achieving compliance. There’s no training or other extra equipment needed because there is nothing that they need to actually do to keep themselves safe.

2. Select the Proper PPE

If you’re going to use Personal Fall Arrest Systems, you need to ensure that you were choosing the proper equipment. All full-body harnesses that meet ANSI standards will perform the same, even with their cost. However, that price differential can give you something extra. Sometimes it’s just a name, but other times it’s functionality that you’re getting or sacrificing, such as extra D-rings, fireproof material, or arc-safe design. Sometimes, more expensive equipment costs more simply because it’s been made to be more comfortable.

3. Inspect Your PPE

If You have got the equipment you need to ensure a protected work environment. That won’t matter if the systems are well worn to the point that they fail. Equipment and lanyards need to be inspected annually, if not more frequently, by a competent person (one with the knowledge to recognize the hazard AND the authority to correct it). However, PPE should be inspected by the user earlier every use. It is important that anyone who might be using the devices understands what they were looking for, That is acceptable or not, and the steps to take should there be an issue. A pre-use check doesn’t have to take a lot of time but needs to be careful. 

4. Training

If you want your employees to work safely at heights, Then they must be properly trained. Not only is training required by law, but there is just too much space for error and confusion when it comes to a person trying to protect themselves at height without proper knowledge. Falls are the main killer in construction year after year. But, it’s not just in construction. Many people in different industries die from fall accidents as well. So train your employees with the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe.

You can also learn similar fire safety advisor courses from Sharp5 industrial training.

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