Safe Procedures and Guidelines to Follow When Working at Height

There are many hazards which might be present within a work environment. Some are obviously more profound than others. Working at height is a particular risk and its effects need to be taken seriously. According to the Health and Safety Executive, these types of falls account for just over 26 per cent of all fatal injuries. This roughly equates to 36 deaths each year. It is therefore apparent that the proper safety precautions need to be put in place at all times. Let's take a quick look at some of the dangers associated with such scenarios before moving on to addressing some safe work procedures for working at height.

Working at Height: Confidence Alone is Not Enough

One of the primary issues which faces workers who regularly perform tasks at significant heights is that they often become too comfortable. As a result, they might not adhere to the appropriate safety protocols. This can result in an injury that might have otherwise been avoided entirely. It is therefore critical that supervisors adhere to the appropriate guidelines so that subordinates will follow their example. Accountability is another issue which should be addressed here. Workers must be encouraged to report any incidences of safety or regulatory violations. This form of on-site awareness will help to avert any unfortunate incidents in the future.

Health and Safety Working at Height: Beating the Odds

There is no doubt that modern platforms will provide an excellent degree of safety and stability. However, these will prove insufficient if the workers themselves are not fully aware of their surroundings and the associated risks at all times. There are several suggestions which have been outlined by the Health and Safety Executive. Some of the most pertinent and logical include:

  • Factoring in control measures such as minimising the distance required to reach to access a specific location.
  • Ensuring that the appropriate PPE (such as safety harnesses) are worn at all times.
  • Making others aware of any work that is taking place at heights.
  • Cancelling outdoor projects during inclement weather conditions.
  • Ensuring that the worker can get safely to the ground in the event of an accident or injury.

These safe procedures for working at height are rather universal, as they are not specific to a discrete environment or project.

Common Sense and Environmental Awareness

It is now important to take a look at safe procedures for working at height from the perspective of the employee as opposed to management. After all, a supervisor will not always be immediately available in the event that a problem arises. All workers should ask themselves these questions:

  • Do I feel comfortable working at this height?
  • Are the provided safety measures adequate for the task at hand?
  • What backup measures are in place in the event that I slip or lose my balance?
  • Are there any risks associated with falling objects?
  • Am I working near hazards such as power lines or unstable structures?

If there is any doubt in regards to the answers to the questions mentioned above, it is always wise to consult with a foreman or supervisor in order to ensure that all proper safety protocols are in place.

What About Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Safe work procedures for working at height will normally involve the type of task that the employee needs to perform. For example, those utilising scissor or accordion lifts should be provided with redundant harnesses in the event that they happen to slip off of the platform. Hard hats might be required on construction sites. Non-slip boots or gloves may be other types of equipment to consider. Of course, this will vary between locations and unique requirements.

Health and safety working at height is a subject that should never be taken lightly. Adhering to the proper guidelines will protect individual workers and naturally, challenging projects can be completed within a timely fashion. The good news is that Powered Access Solutions is able to provide a host of reliable platforms for various requirements. Give us a call on 01793 953355.