5 Working at Height Safety Tips
- Guest Blog
- 11 months ago
Working at height is often necessary. For roofers, scaffolders, steel erectors, and telecoms engineers working at height is all part of the job. If it’s part of your job, or you employ people who have to work at height, it is important to pay close attention to safety at all times.
All it takes is one mistake and before you know it, a simple job has turned into a serious accident, or worse, a fatality. If working at height is part of your job or business, here are some essential safety tips you can’t afford to ignore.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The right equipment is essential for anyone working at height. Fall arrest systems are an industry standard, but you must select a harness that is suitable for the job at hand. For example, Guardian fall protection harnesses come in a range of different styles, so there is one for most jobs. Look for a harness that is comfortable as well as functional. If you’re spending several hours in a harness, it needs to be comfortable! It also needs to be fully adjustable, as one size doesn’t fit all.
Inspect and Maintain PPE
Don’t shove PPE in a cupboard between jobs. Always inspect PPE before and after a task. Look for signs of wear and tear, damage, and any other issues. If you spot anything, don’t use the harness or lanyard. Small tears or corroded metal D-rings and hooks are a weak point, which could cause a devastating accident. Replace as soon as a harness is past its best.
Choose the Right Access Equipment
Is a ladder enough, or do you need a scaffold tower? You might even need a lift, and in the case of towers, free climbing is the only way to access the work site. Select the right access equipment and don’t use a ladder unless it is correctly secured and braced. Ladders are useful tools, but if used incorrectly, they are a common cause of accidents in the workplace.
Calculate the Fall Distance
Deceleration devices are designed to break your fall, but it won’t work if you fail to take into account the deceleration distance. Imagine if you open a parachute 50 feet from the ground – by the time it slows you down, it will be too late. A deceleration device is no different. The device needs room to deploy, plus you have to take your height and lanyard into account. Work out the fall distance before you use a harness and lanyard.
Select a Suitable Anchor Point
There is little point attaching to an anchor point that can’t support your weight. You may as well not bother. Use a strong steel anchor or another suitable fixture. Stay away from plastic pipes or decorative metal fixings as these are not strong enough. Bear in mind also that the heavier you are, the more secure the anchor needs to be.
Finally, always complete a training course before you attempt to work at height. And if you’re running a business, send your employees on regular training courses.