There are some professions which are naturally more dangerous than others. Few would argue that working at heights poses a formidable number of risks and statistics have reinforced this observation. Were you aware that one out of every four fatalities can be attributed to significant falls (1)? Injuries are even more common and if the correct safety procedures are not put in place, the associated risks will dramatically increase. Let us look at some powerful and actionable working at heights safety tips as well as why adopting a conservative stance when dealing with a challenging project is the best way to avoid otherwise unnecessary injuries.
Always the Last Solution
As a rule of thumb, it is always best to employ the use of safety equipment as opposed to exposing yourself or your employees to greater risks. For example, a scissor lift can be used when changing floodlight bulbs. It may be possible to employ boom lifts in the event that the peak of a home cannot be reached with a standard ladder. While there will inevitably be times when traditional methods may be required, these should represent the last resort in order to mitigate the chances of a potentially serious fall.
Top Health and Safety Issues on a Site
Although the list of health and safety risks in the workplace is never ending, we want to ensure that you know the main risks constructions site workers face when they go to work every day.
The Two-Man Rule
Studies have found that more than 40 per cent of all serious falls are associated with utilising a ladder (2) to complete a project. This is why working at height safely involves what is known as the "two-man rule". In other words, two employees should always be present when undertaking any tasks that involve an elevated effort. In terms of ladders, one will "foot" the base of the ladder in order to provide an extra degree of stability. When working with electrical lifts, a worker should always be close by in the event that the unit has to be manually lowered from the base (such as if an injury occurs).
Become Familiar with All Equipment
Accidents will often occur as a result of an individual being unaware of a piece of equipment. This is why a significant amount of hands-on training must be provided before any task is undertaken. When referring to mechanical lifts and similar devices, this observation is even more important. A failure to understand critical components such as outriggers and emergency shut-off controls can lead to serious (and potentially fatal) mistakes. Only those who have received the proper training should be allowed to operate such units. This is one of the core tenets of safe working at heights.
Become Cognisant of Any Potential Hazards
Situational awareness is another critical factor which needs to be embraced by both management and employees alike. Always identify any hazards that may be present before beginning a project. Some common examples can include:
- - Electrical wires.
- - Unstable structures.
- - Extremely uneven terrain.
- - Dangerous or inclement weather conditions.
Patience is a virtue in regards to working at height safely. The most effective way to avoid an accident is to become fully aware of any relevant hazards
Outline an Emergency Plan
What would occur if an accident took place while one of your employees was working at height? Are there any existing protocols? Whether referring to an injury or even a sudden illness, it is always important that employees know how to respond. This includes providing them with information about any emergency shut-off switches as well as how to safely secure a mechanical lift while attending to the individual in question. All companies should have a well-defined emergency response plan. Safe working at heights involves much more than theory alone.
Obtain the Proper Training and Certification
When utilising mechanical equipment such as lifts and booms, providing employees with an ample amount of training is critical. This is why only IPAF-approved courses such as those offered by Powered Access Solutions should be employed. These programmes cover subjects such as:
- - MEWP concerns for managers.
- - The proper use of personal harnesses.
- - The loading and unloading of equipment.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of accidents can be avoided altogether with a bit of knowledge and foresight. This is why all employees who will face such risks need to be provided with an adequate level of preparation.
Working at Heights Safety Tips: One Small Step for Man
When the difference of a few inches matters, there is little room for error. This is why working at heights should never be taken lightly. It is important to implement all of the suggestions mentioned above and if you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today on 01793 953355.
Contact Powered Access Solutions Today!
Contact Powered Access Solution to ensure your boom vehicle hire and training is up-to-date!
If you have lifting equipment on your site, give our construction site specialists at Powered Access Solutions a call on 01793279990 to ensure that your company are following health and safety procedures.