ONE OF THE biggest causes of accidents and injuries in the workplace is working at height. The increased danger associated with unfamiliar locations, fragile roofs and the use of ladders means that safety precautions need to be in place to control potential hazards. Here we discuss some of the ways to minimise risk when working at height.
Identify and control
Prior to any work being attempted, it should be investigated whether working at height can be avoided, and if not then identification and control strategies should be implemented. At the outset a full risk assessment should be undertaken to identify the potential hazards. These will include things such as the condition of the roof, the work required and the equipment needed. Once the hazards have been identified, it is then important to control the risks by implementing appropriate safety strategies.
At this stage, work which has been properly planned can be carried out whilst being supervised by someone who has been fully trained and is deemed competent, and carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation. For each step of the work, measures should be implemented to ensure the safety of the workers.
When working at height, it is vital that equipment is of the highest standard and regularly inspected to ensure it is safe for use. Due to the variety of risks associated with working at height, there is a wide range of safety equipment needed. For example, where possible edge protection should be used around the perimeter of the roof to help prevent falls. Any ladders and lifting equipment should be suitable for the type of roof and in line with the work required. It is also important to install and display the appropriate signage such as safety signs from Reece Safety to communicate the dangers and risks to both maintenance operatives, visitors and the general public.
Appropriate personal protective equipment is also important, such as full body harnesses, hard hats and the correct footwear. Make sure your workers have been correctly fitted for all their relevant equipment to ensure it provides the maximum protection.
Employees should receive the relevant training associated with the equipment they are using and prior to undertaking any work. Each worker should also be supervised by someone qualified, to ensure a safe practice of work and to spot any issues should they arise.
It is important that employees are sent to any relevant training courses as and when they arise in order to stay up to date with new regulations and safety updates.
When working at height there are many safety considerations to take in to account in order to minimise the risks of accidents and injuries occurring. It is vital that training is supplied to a high level, along with the correct equipment in order to ensure a safe place of work for your employees.