Working at elevated heights comes with risks. Once you’re off the ground, any sort of fall or misstep can lead to an injury. But there are measures you can put in place to keep yourself and your coworkers safe. Below, we explore staying safe when working at a height.
Conduct a risk assessment
Your first step should be to conduct a risk assessment. This is where you analyze potentially dangerous scenarios and items in your immediate working area – before taking steps to avoid them.
Common dangers to look out for include: unprotected edges, sharp edges on structures, weather, ground conditions, falling objects, the proximity of large bodies of water. Once you’ve identified the risks, you should plan to minimize their threat.
1. Avoid unnecessary risks
Working from a height should only be a last resort. If you can complete the work from inside a building or from the ground then that should be your first option.
If not, consider the work you’ll need to do. Is it possible that you can do part of it from the ground before going and working from a height? For instance, if you’re fixing guttering you could bring the gutter down to the ground and carry out repairs before reattaching it.
2. Wear PPE
Sometimes an accident is unavoidable and unfortunate. But you can still prepare in advance. By wearing PPE equipment you’ll be in the best position to protect yourself from a severe injury during an accident. This equipment can include items such as a hard hat, gloves, boots alongside other specialist pieces.
Harnesses and lanyards should be carefully inspected by the user before they’re put on to make sure that they’re operational and haven’t deteriorated.
3. Check anchor points
Anchor points are the places you fasten yourself to. Ideally, you’ll want something sturdy that can hold your weight in case you slip. This could be an anchor point that an engineer has built or something that has been tested to hold over 5000 pounds.
When you get started, identify the appropriate anchor points, before thoroughly checking to make sure that you’re safely fastened to each anchor point.
Staying safe while working at heights is critical. Even the most skillful workers can be prone to an accident. But by conducting a risk assessment, wearing appropriate PPE, and checking your anchor points you should be able to minimize the chance of serious injury.