Advice for Working at Height
Prevention is the best cure (think safety barriers, including rooftop demarcation barriers to prevent access to roof edges where the risk of a fall is greatest). Despite all our best intentions, however, there are instances when an accident happens and a fall does occur. A fall can be arrested by using the correct type of equipment. Equipment such as lanyards, harnesses and safety lines are ideal for this but you will need to identify which equipment to use when you need to go up a certain height in order to carry out the task at hand. For work that is to be performed up to several metres high, you can use scaffolding as a temporary access or elevating device. A properly erected scaffolding platform will make work easier to manage in a timely fashion.
When it comes to carrying out work higher than a few metres, you will need a forklift combined with a mounting cage and guard railings. Guard rails may be made from cable, steel, pipe, or wood and it’s vital that you choose the right type. A safety net can support you and keep you well balanced when carrying out tasks within a building unit. Using the correct type of positioning system is also important – for example a travel restraint or engineering cable access system.
For those working in the construction industry here in the UK, falls from height represent the most likely type of accident that results in fatality or life-changing injuries. Working in construction work is a risky undertaking, especially for those who are required to work at height. It’s essential that the right type of access equipment is chosen for each task and that the equipment is assembled and put in place by personnel who have had the requisite training to erect it correctly. It’s also vital that anybody using access equipment of any type has had the relevant training in using that type of access equipment and that a comprehensive risk assessment is carried out before work is begun.
If a fall does occur, the seriousness of the injuries sustained will depend on the height from which the fall occurred. The higher up, the more serious the injury is likely to be. Here in the UK we have stringent regulations for working at height – these have been designed to ensure that workers are kept safe when working at height. Prevention is always better than cure, so avoiding work at height if possible is always the most favourable option. If the work at height is unavoidable, then it’s vital that all necessary preventative and protective measures are taken before the work commences.
Safety is always the most important consideration when it comes to work at height and this covers the safety of everybody in the area – co-workers and passers-by included. Working at height is a major responsibility and taking advantage of all the tools available really is a must – planning, risk assessment, fall prevention equipment, personal protection equipment, safety barriers and robust access equipment.