9 safety tips have been illustrated in this blog post for adequate safety in working at height.
Working at Height Definition
Working at height is defined as work at any place where a worker could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury or even death if proper precautions are not taken.
Working at height is the most common and significant hazard in the workplace which poses a high risk of serious personal injury or even fatality if someone falls from a height. Regulations (2005) were implemented to prevent death or injury to employees resulting due to fall from heights. Hence, its recommended to take proper safety precautions to avoid accidents while performing working at height activity.
Work at Height Examples
- If you work above ground or surface level, will be considered working at height. This can be applied to those employees who work on scaffolding, ladder, and other working platforms such as man-lift, scissors lift, and man-basket.
- If there is a risk for workers to fall from ground level into an opening or hole.
- If there is a risk of fall for workers to fall from an edge or through an opening or fragile surface.
- If there is a risk of falls for workers from a flat roof.
Note: The straight ladders being used as an access with scaffolding platform, must be secured at both, the top and bottom edge of the ladders, and they must be extended at least one meter above from the landing platform.
9 Tips for Safety in Working at Height
Working at height can be dangerous for you and others around you if you do not comply with safety precautions and required control measures. here 9 safety tips have been illustrated to keep you safe while performing an activity in an elevated area. All employees who involve in working at height activities should know what is the safety of working at height activities so that they can perform their working at height activities in a safe manner. Please comply with the below 9 safety tips to ensure safety in working at height activity.
1. Perform Risk Assessment
As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace to your employees where they will safely conduct their assigned tasks. It is a legal requirement to carry out an effective risk assessment of the workplace by involving both, the construction and HSE departments if 5 or more employees are employed.
Hence, you must conduct an effective risk assessment before involving the workers in working at height activity and the outcomes of risk assessment must be communicated among concerned task operatives so that they will be aware of the existing hazards arising from working at height activity and their respective control measures. This risk assessment should be recorded and available for future inspection and will be updated from time to time as necessary.
2. Ensure Proper Working Platform
This is the primary requirement to have a safe working platform to execute the activity at height. All working platforms such as scaffolding, man lift, man basket, and scissors lift should be equipped with proper guardrails & toe boe board protection. The scaffolding platform must be inspected by a competent scaffolding inspector, and ensure that only green-tagged scaffolding platforms are being used to conduct work at height in a safe manner.
Ensure that all working at-height platforms such as the man lift, man basket, and scissors lift are third-party certified and are in sound condition. The valid third-party certificates (TPC) of these working at height platforms must be valid and displayed on visible places of the respective equipment. The safe working load (SWL) of these working platforms must be marked on the equipment and should be followed strictly to avoid accidents while using them for working at height activity.
3. Use Ladders Properly
Ladders are the main source of many industrial and workplace accidents due to its uses in unsafe conditions. Just because we take their use for granted and do not consider them to use safe, the law says that ladders can be used for work at height if a risk assessment has been carried out and shows that using the ladders is not required a higher level of fall protection because of the low-risk level and short duration of use, or there are existing workplace featuring that cannot be altered. Safety in working at height activities is important to prevent serious accidents at the workplace, hence always ensure that ladders are secured properly and fixed at a 75-degree angle.
4. Select the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If you are going to use a personal fall arrestor system, definitely you must choose the proper one for your protection in case of falling from a height. All full-body harnesses with double lanyards should meet the ANSI standard for good performance of harness. You must choose your PPE as per the nature of hazards that could be present in your job. For instance; If you have a welding job at height, then a standard nylon harness will not be perfect as it can be easily damaged by welding splatters and heat.in this case, perhaps Kevlar is the way to go with.
All full-body harnesses with double lanyards are not one size fit for all. You must ensure that workers are adjusting their harnesses properly to fit correctly. You must ensure that harness that all full-body harnesses are inspected by a competent person and are in sound condition. Workers must also check their full-body harnesses visually before they use them.
5. Inspect Your PPE
Employees can use all job-required PPEs for their protection in the workplace. But if they are not inspecting their PPEs, then their PPEs can fail at any time. When it comes to full-body harnesses, all full-body harnesses must be periodically inspected by a competent person (one who has the knowledge to recognize the hazards and has the authority to correct them). All full-body harnesses must be visually inspected by the user daily. For this, each user should know, what they are looking for, what is acceptable, and what is not as well as what to do, if they find some problems.
Inspection of full-body harnesses must be done properly and shall be kept in the HSE department for future reference.
6. Ensure You Understand Fall Distance
Identification of fall distance is the most important thing to get proper protection from fall protection equipment otherwise you can wear all the fall protection equipment in the world for your protection while working at height, but if it’s allowing you to hit the lower level before it engages, then it’s useless or let’s say pointless. This is like “common sense”, but you will be surprised how many people are there who don’t seems to have “common sense”. Definitely, it is not unusual to go to a construction work site or observe a maintenance team in a plant and see a worker 10-12′ off the ground level wearing a 6′ lanyard with a deceleration device.
Make sure that your actual fall distance is not being considered only the length of your harness’s lanyard, but also you have to include your body length below the D-ring and any other sags in your harness and anchorage system.
7. Ensure Proper Selection of an Acceptable Anchor Point
For anything in the workplace to be an acceptable anchor point, it must be capable to withstand 5000 lbs of force for each worker. Many workers in the workplace think that anything that looks sturdy can be served as an anchor point, but most of the structures can not be capable of withstanding 5000 lbs force per person. always you have to select an approved and acceptable anchor point that must be capable to withstand 5000 lbs of force for each person attached. There are many fixtures in the workplace, such as rails on the platform, ducting pipes, light fixtures, and overhead pipes that will not withstand those forces (5000 lbs).
Apart from that, you will need some documentation and/or approval from engineers to use as an anchor point. For instance, if you are going to use a lifeline to anchor your lanyard, you will need to ensure that the lifeline has been inspected by a competent person and it’s having a valid certificate of inspection.
8. Check the Weather Condition
Monitoring weather conditions for any adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, high wind speed, thunder, fog, and icy condition in the workplace is most important to ensure safety in working at height activities. The likelihood of injuries and accidents due to work in adverse weather conditions can be increased if workers involve in height work.
To ensure safety in working at height activities, the Job supervisor and safety representative must monitor the weather condition of the workplace during height work. If there is any doubt that what to do in case of poor weather conditions such as heavy rain, high wind speed, thunder, and fog, then stop the work at height and let workers be in a safe area to eliminate the additional risks. You must always use the proper anchor point to ensure safety in working at height.
9. Train, Train, Train
It has been previously mentioned in various paragraphs above, but both employers and employees should know the importance of training for performing a working-at-height activity is going on. Workers must be well trained in working at height training courses to ensure safety in working at height activity. Fall from height is one of the leading killers in construction as well as in other industries where people expose at height to execute their activities.
Working safely is not luck by chance or does not come by chance. To work safely at height, it will be required to have proper training, preparation, focus, and adequate precautionary measures in place. Adopting short-cut while performing work at height can lead to serious personal injuries or even death. To ensure safety in working at height, always be trained and take the required safety measures to execute your tasks at height in a safe manner.
To ensure safety in working at height activity, kindly comply with the 9 safety tips that have been explored in this blog. Do not adopt a short-cut method to execute your height work at any time. It can lead to serious personal injury or even death.
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