Working at height can be very dangerous, and is one of the most common causes of accidents in the construction industry. Without the proper precautions, working at height can lead to falls, or injuries to others thanks to dropped equipment and materials. Here are the top tips to keep you safe when you’re working at height.
Risk assess. If you can’t avoid working at a height, then you need to complete a thorough risk assessment of the possible dangers that could occur as you work, including falling objects, obstructions, and the ability of the staff member undertaking the work.
Policy and training. Make sure that you regularly review your policies about working at heights, and update them as things change, such as adjusting load limits for heavy lifting with cranes. As policies change, make sure all your staff have the appropriate training for the work.
Avoid working at height where possible. When you have to, make sure you choose the most appropriate method of working high up for the task, such as using a ladder or changing to scaffolding.
Edge protection. Make sure to place a suitable and strong guard at a sensible height around the area where anyone will be working at height.
Safe area. Before you start working at height, check for any overhead obstructions. If you need to, use barriers to keep the area safe.
Below ground. Don’t forget, working at heights can also mean below ground projects, such as working at height around excavations or ponds. These excavations should be well protected, have a safe means of getting in and out and be kept well lit.
Access equipment. If the high up job will take longer or require more intensive work, then you might want to think about using some access equipment to make things easier, such as mobile towers, or elevated work platforms.
Ladders. Use them appropriately. Ladders should only be used for light work, or for a short amount of time. Never overload or overreach a ladder.
Three points of contact. You should always have three points of contact when working on a ladder. Keep one hand, two feet, or one foot and two hands on the ladder at all times. The same rule can also keep you safe when getting in and out of large vehicles.
Training. Anyone working at height must be properly trained to do so. Make sure everyone has the training that they need, and check that they have the appropriate equipment, and use the right tools to reach where they need to work.
Working at height can be dangerous, but with these tips, you can keep your staff and yourself safe. With proper policies and safety plans in place, there will be less risk of falls, dropped objects, or other dangers. Get these policies in place, train your staff on them, and make sure all the rules are being followed by anyone who has to work at height to make sure they stay safe.