Any profession that requires working at heights is considered high risk. Workers in either maintenance or construction, and other similar jobs could be at risk of falling from heights.
It’s also very true that working at heights is still one of the biggest causes of occupational fatalities or serious injuries. So, what should be done to prevent any potential risks?
Every person that works at heights should follow certain rules and regulations that are there to minimize or prevent accidents. They should also be aware of the dos and don’ts of working at height.
Here are some dos and don’ts that can help you out if you’re someone who works at height.
It’s highly important that you plan out the workplace before starting any job. The point of planning is to understand the potential hazards and risks involved in working in that area.
After you have done the planning, you’ll be able to implement the necessary safety measures. If you’re a foreman or a safety officer this is your obligation and duty. It’s also your duty as a supervising or safety officer to minimize the risk of falls in case your workers are working at heights.
Provide any necessary safety resources, check and double-check onsite employees in case the work is ongoing. Come up with solutions for any issues and make sure that everyone is aware of compliance and safety standards.
Try to do as much of the work as you can on the ground. Not only is this the cheapest option, but it’s also the safest for workers as it will prevent any potential height risks.
Once the work on the ground is done, make sure the workers are equipped with all the necessary safety equipment and that they work on solid platforms. For any long-term work at heights, scaffolding is the safest and the sturdier option. The scaffolding should be safe and have safe entry and exit points.
If securing a scaffolding is not possible or scaffolding doesn’t fit the site, seek other solutions. Those solutions may include access platforms, scissor lifts, access towers, and boom lifts to name a few. However, before working with any of these machines, make sure the workers know how to safely operate them.
Accidents usually happen because workers trip or slip when working at height. And the main reason for these trips or slips is messy workplaces, scattered objects, slippery floors and so on.
To make sure that these sorts of accidents don’t occur make sure that the workplace is clean and organized. A clutter-free workplace is a safe workplace.
Make sure that workers clean before, during, and after work so that there aren’t any safety risks. Remind workers, that a disorganized and cluttered workplace not only is a safety hazard but that it also causes stress and work inefficiency.
Make it clear that any equipment and materials should be kept clean and organized.
It goes without saying that any person who works at heights should be equipped with personal protective equipment and fall-arrest systems. This is crucial if you want to minimize accidents and keep your workers safe from falls.
In case you can’t use solid platforms on the working site or if you expect heavy workloads, fall-arrest systems are a must.
Of course, for workers to be able to use fall-arrest systems, they must be properly trained. So, make sure you provide your workers with essential work at heights training.
These training courses will teach your workers the necessary theory, practical skills, and knowledge to work safely in a range of situations, using various types of fall protection equipment. They will also learn emergency response and height rescue techniques.
It’s very dangerous to overload ladders or any similar support systems such as forklifts, scaffolding, and so on. Working at heights means that you should be aware of the maximum weight a platform you’re working on can handle. This means knowing exactly how many people can and equipment can be on a platform at once.
Just like overloading your platforms is highly dangerous, so is trying to reach too far at height. Workers at heights must be provided with equipment that allows appropriate support. This means appropriate ladders or step ladders that will help them reach as far as they need to reach without tiptoeing or reaching too far.
When climbing the ladder, workers must make sure that they are standing firmly on the ground and in place. Also, when leaning the ladder onto the wall, make sure that it can handle the weight. Never lean the ladder onto places with little structural support.
Untrained workers should under no circumstance be allowed to carry out work at heights. Not only is this dangerous for them, but it can also cause a risk to other people as well.
Once again, untrained or inexperienced workers should never work at heights!
Always keep in mind that high-altitude jobs are some of the most dangerous occupations. People who work at height should be appropriately trained and experienced enough to be able to perform any work and operate fall-arrest equipment.