Why are Height Safety Procedures Important?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, working at heights represents the single largest cause of fatalities on job sites. It has been reported that a total of 5,956 non-fatal injuries occurred during the 12-month period leading up to March 2016. While only 37 of these resulted in fatalities, the fact of the matter is that such situations represent very real concerns within the workplace. Adopting the correct safety procedures when working at height is therefore essential and it is important to be aware of the correct training methods. Let us examine some of the potential risks before moving on to discuss why knowledge and the use of the proper personal protection equipment (PPE) should never be taken lightly.

Health and Safety When Working at Height: What You Need to Know

There are many hazards which need to be appreciated if you hope to adopt the correct procedures. While the most common is falling off of a ladder or similar piece of equipment, the dangers spread far beyond these situations. Some other potentially serious instances include:

  • The improper installation of equipment.
  • A unit such as an accordion lift overturning.
  • Workers becoming trapped between a structure and an elevated basket.
  • Operating machinery during prohibited conditions (such as poor weather or on a gradient).
  • If the correct training is not obtained in advance, the chances are high that an accident or injury can occur. These could range from minor to severe and in some cases, even fatal. It is therefore the responsibility of management as well as employees to embrace the appropriate techniques at all times.

    Knowledge is Power

    The best way to avoid serious incidents is to provide the proper training. Please note that this instruction should adhere to the guidelines stipulated in the work at Height Regulations 2005. Some of the topics which are generally covered can include (but might not necessarily be limited to):

  • Situational awareness.
  • The proper maintenance of equipment.
  • The two-man rule for dangerous tasks.
  • How to load and unload vehicles.
  • Knowing the correct ladder angles and similar safety procedures.
  • Methods of risk assessment.

  • Of course, the exact type of training will vary. Employees may or may not be required to obtain official certification before operating specific equipment (such as recognition by the CSCS). The main takeaway point is that the best way to prevent serious accidents is to obtain the proper training and guidance in advance. Let us also not fail to mention that firms which fail to adopt these practices could be at risk of litigation in the future should an incident occur.

    Properly Implementing the Appropriate Personal Protection Equipment

    The use of personal protection equipment is another serious issue to cover. If used in the appropriate manner, an individual could be protected from a life-threatening situation. There are many variants of this type of equipment. Hard hats, fall arrest, systems, horizontal lifelines and work restraint accessories are some common examples. Please note that these should meet the current British standards. Management likewise needs to ensure that all employees are regularly using PPE when working at height. If a violation is noted, it should be reported immediately.

    Health and safety when working at height is no laughing matter. A seemingly simple mistake can have life-altering consequences. It is likewise important that only the most reliable equipment is chosen. In order to appreciate some of the choices available to you, please contact Powered Access Solutions. As always, a safe environment is a healthy environment.