How To Ensure Safety For Employees Working At Heights
Working at height refers to any work that is above ground or below ground in which a person could fall and injure themselves if no precautions are taken. You could fall off a ladder, off a roof’s edge, or through an opening on the floor without a proper height safety installation. Generally speaking, fall protection is required at four feet above a lower level.
Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of occupational fatalities and major injuries. Cases commonly involve overreaching, over-balancing, or the failure of a fragile surface.
Other significant hazards associated with working at height include falling objects and the potential for a working platform to collapse or overturn as well as contact with overhead electrical services.
Despite all other causes, proper safety measures are vital before setting afoot. We’ve listed them for you to get a clear vision of everything.
1. Using Proper Railings
When you can, use a railing. This type of protection is the easiest way to keep your workers safe in order to achieve compliance because there is nothing that they need to actually do to keep themselves safe.
Prefabricated railings can be permanently affixed or portable to suit your needs. Regardless of which type you use, once in place, you’ll find rails to be the easiest fall protection system to use.
2. Selecting The Proper Protective Equipment
You need to ensure you’re choosing the proper equipment. Do your research and decide what you really need. If you have workers welding at heights, then a standard nylon harness is probably not going to be what you need. Perhaps Kevlar is the way to go.
And, don’t forget your workforce. Perhaps comfort isn’t your main concern, but that’s not the only consideration you need to make. Harnesses and other height safety installations are not one-size-fits-all. Make sure your workers can properly adjust their harnesses so that they fit correctly.
Lanyards need to be properly selected as well. Depending on the height at which you are working, a 6’ lanyard with a deceleration device will not protect your worker. Instead, a retractable lanyard may be necessary. Each situation is different, so you need to evaluate your working conditions and the task to be performed in order to give your employees something that will actually protect them.
3. Understanding Fall Distance
You can wear all the fall arrest system protective gear in the world, but if it allows you to hit the lower level before it engages, it’s pointless. It is not unusual to go onto a construction site or observe a maintenance crew in a plant and see a worker at 10-12’ off the ground wearing a 6’ lanyard with a deceleration device.
Your actual fall distance needs not only to include the length of your lanyard when deployed but also your body length below the D-ring and any sag in your harness and anchor system.
4. Selecting A Measured Anchor Point
The anchor point must support not only the weight of the person attached. Many fixtures are not going to withstand those forces. Structural steel using a proper beam clamp? Sure.
A manufactured roofing cart or another manufactured anchor? Sure, if installed properly. There are rope access companies Sydney just for that.
Short of that, you’re going to need some documentation and/or an engineer’s or inspector’s approval to use something as an anchor point.
5. Selecting The Best Means
Just as harnesses are not one-size-fits-all, neither are fall protection solutions. In some situations, rope access equipment is going to be your best solution to work at heights.
If so, you’ll probably be able to equip them with rails, making your fall protection much easier to address. Other times, scaffolds will be infeasible and you’ll find yourself on a lift.
a. Using Ladders Tactfully
Ladders lie at the source of many industrial and workplace accidents simply because we take their use for granted. Ladders are dangerous. When improperly used, they’re really dangerous.
First, make sure that ladders are the best way to do what you’re doing, then make sure your employees know how to properly use them.
If you think that means you can stop there but no higher, you might not know how to use a step-ladder. Provide your employees with proper training so that they use the tools they are being given the right way.
Also, if you are going to be using a fixed ladder, make sure that it is protected by a ladder safety gate or an offset.
b. Ensuring Wise Use of Elevators
There are many ways in which an elevator operator can do something wrong. We do need to discuss fall protection in regards to elevators. One thing that gets missed by rope access technician quite often is that any person in a boom lift, at any time, at any height, must be properly tied off.
c. Proper Safety Training
It’s been mentioned multiple times above, but it can’t be stressed enough. If you want your employees to work safely at heights, they must be properly trained. Period. The end.
Not only is training required by law, but there is also just too much room for error and confusion when it comes to a person without the proper knowledge trying to protect themselves at heights. Without proper height safety systems Australia things can lead to mishaps and casualties.
Working safely at heights does not come by chance. It is not something you luck your way into. Working safely at heights takes preparation, education, and determination. When it comes to fall protection, you can’t have too much information. Australian height safety service makes sure the workers get the first priority and the utmost safety while at work.