7 Safety Tips For Working At Australian Skyscrapers
Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Working at heights always poses a serious amount of risk for everyone involved. Incidents not only result in untimely death but also leaves people with permanent disabilities putting their career and families in jeopardy.
Despite several safety measures and guidelines, a single small mistake can lead to fatality. In Australia alone, working at heights is considered to be a high-risk activity, and contributes to a rather large number of deaths and injuries.
A study tracing the mishaps from working at heights between 2015 and 2019 in Australia revealed alarming statistics:
Reportedly, more than 120 workers were killed after falling from heights.
More than 20 individuals died from working at heights across tall buildings as well as other structures. Also, more than 15 people died falling from ladders.
The construction industry was found to account for no less than forty percent of incidents that involved people working at heights.
In this post, we take a closer look at understanding what working at Heights is all about, and discuss seven must-follow safety tips for individuals working at heights across Australian skyscrapers.
Knowing the basics right
“Working at Heights'' or WHS invariably refers to any work where the worker stands a chance to fall off and succumb to injury, disability, or death. The edge of a roof, ladder, floor openings, and loading docks are popular examples of working at heights. Generally, a height of four feet and above qualifies as working at heights.
Although a passive protection measure, railings are by far one of the highly recommended protection equipment among all workplace safety gear. Also, because one doesn't require any training to stay within railings makes it a popular choice. For every single rooftop style, there seem to be several different railing types:
Parapet Mounted railings
Metal Roof railings, and others.
Besides railings, one should also look into installing a roof fall arrest system and effectively adapt to rope access training for all workers.
Mighty anchor points
While the lanyard and harness are important considerations, an anchor point plays a major role in height safety installations. So, one must identify the right kind of anchor point before starting the work on a site. Here are a couple of pointers to remember:
An anchor point should be a structure designed and subsequently approved by a professional engineer for expected load-carrying capacity.
Alternatively, any structure with a capacity of no less than five thousand pounds can be identified as an anchor point.
Identifying the right kind of protective gear
Working with Australian Skyscrapers demands you pick on the right kind of workplace safety gear by taking into consideration factors like site location, duration of work, and frequency.
Any job performed within a timeframe of a month or more can be termed frequent.
Regarding the duration, if the job takes a couple of hours or more, then it can be identified as permanent. Lastly, the location needs to be confirmed by looking into the proximity of the hazard.
For instance, a work location that measures somewhere between six and fifteen ft. requires one to designate a particular work area and gear up for maximum protection.
Any worker, depending on the height of high rise buildings in Australia is required to work with proper lanyards. Retractable options are the best as different working conditions put workers at varying levels of risk.
Remember, no two situations are the same. Thus, you will need to ditch the thought of investing in a standard quality lanyard and opt for a more dependable sort(at times expensive) for maximum protection.
There have been numerous instances when things have gone wrong working with lifts at heights, especially the boom designs. First things first, you will need to ensure a boom lift is tied off in the most secure manner possible.
Sometimes, people tend to wrap their lanyards right around the railings, which can be pretty risky while working with lifts. Instead, they should be tied securely with anchor points.
If you are using a scissor lift, always remember to close the gates, otherwise, you are attracting unnecessary risk. No matter what you do, it is also important that you keep your feet firm on the platform.
Ladders are outright tricky. They are the single most dangerous element involved in multiple working at heights accidents and beyond. The reason being, people tend to think they have got it all figured out with ladders since they use one at home. However, the reality is different.
As a rule of the thumb, one is required to maintain a three ft. extension past the climbing level, and a 4:1 ratio for the rise and run. Also, always maintain a three-point contact with your ladder.
Working with other types, like step-ladders and fixed variants that are well over twenty inches high, you will need to ensure your works are effectively trained in working with a ladder safety system. It should, by all means, contain lanyards, harnesses, and a cable rail working as a vertical lifeline. Also, don't ignore the ladder safety gate and mandatory fall protection to mitigate the risk levels.
Run a check on your PPE
PPE is another integral part of workplace safety gear. Hence, before you start working at heights, it is recommended that you run a thorough check on your PPE all by yourself.
Doing so will help you identify the devices and the measures required to get the job done, and whether things are in place besides the obvious ones like harness and lanyards. Although a little step, inspecting your PPE can make a significant difference to safeguard an individual.
Besides following the safety tips, always ensure to check Australian building standards and accordingly train workers to combat any risky situation. Settling for shortcuts to learning safety methods of working at heights can be detrimental in the long run and can be a hefty error without any chance to undo.