Working at height is potentially dangerous. It refers to anywhere someone has a risk of falling and injuring themselves. It can be from a ladder, a tall building, a roof’s edge, through an opening on the floor, etc. If you work at heights every day or time to time, focusing on your safety is very important. A slight mistake can turn some work into a severe injury or fatality. If you are a building owner, you need to be prepared to protect your employees at all costs. Check out the top guidelines for working at height.
Use the proper PPE
The first step in working at height is choosing the proper PPE. If you use a personal fall arrest system, ensure you wear appropriate PPE such as a full-body harness or lanyard. Research extensively and determine what kind of personal protective equipment you need depending on the height safety required and the task. Comfort is key, and you also need to be able to adjust the protective harness to ensure it works as it is designed to.
Inspect your PPE
You also need to inspect your PPE regularly. Some equipment is worn until it fails. For instance, your full-body harness and lanyard should be inspected annually by a competent person who can discover hazards and correct them. Checking your PPE before use is simple, but it can make the difference between life and death.
It is best to use a railing where necessary. It is a form of passive protection to keep every worker safe as well as achieving compliance. Fortunately, there are many types of railing systems according to every style of rooftops, such as metal roof railing, parapet mounted railing, non-penetrating railing, etc. Railings are the easiest forms of protection to use.
Choose the right anchor point
A lot of factors are involved in height safety. There is no need for a full-body harness or lanyard if the anchor point won’t hold. An acceptable or appropriate anchor point is not a decorative steel on the roof or a PVC pipe. An anchor point is appropriate if it can carry a load or 5000pounds and if it had been approved by an engineer who has calculated the expected loads. Ensure the anchor point is installed correctly before you hook.
Appropriate use of the ladder
Do not assume that just because you are used to handling a ladder at home, you are an expert at it. According to research, ladders contribute to the highest percentage of industrial and workplace accidents. So, do not assume. Although we are familiar with ladders, they can be dangerous when improperly used. Here are some helpful tips for using a ladder:
- Ensure there are three points of contact with the ladder always; two legs, one hand, or two hands, one leg.
- Every extra four feet, the ladder rises, add an extra foot from between the ladder and the foot of the structure.
- Use a 3ft extension of the ladder past the level you are climbing.
A key takeaway
Understand when and what type of height safety is required. Think about the location, frequency, and duration of your work in relation to the fall hazard. Working at height requires height safety training and exercising the right precautions. If you have no such skills, it is best to hire height safety experts.