How to Prevent Falls from Height
There are several professions which require employees to work from height. These range from window cleaning to construction, tree surgeons, theme park workers, roofers and electricians. For people in these professions working from height can be a common occurrence. Some of the most common tasks that take place at height include:
- Gutter cleaning
- Roof work
- Putting up displays
- Window cleaning
- Shelf stacking
- Unloading vehicles
- Machine maintenance
- Erecting scaffolding
How to avoid serious injuries
Falls from height can lead to some serious injuries including broken bones, head injuries and spinal injuries. Although not all injuries suffered are serious they can still have a detrimental effect on those who experience them, including time spent off work and subsequent lost earnings. However if safety procedures are followed correctly and precautions are taken, the risk of injury from falls can be reduced significantly.
Before starting any task that involves working from any height workers should first consider the following questions when assessing the risks involved in what they are doing. By assessing risks individuals can decide whether further precautions should be taken, and if there are safer ways to complete the task in hand.
How high is the job from the ground?
Is there any way it can be down closer to the ground?
What surface will the access equipment, often a ladder, rest on?
And is the surface strong enough to support the equipment?
What is the condition of the ground in the area where access equipment needs to be set up?
Is the ground uneven, wet or muddy?
Make sure the ladder, scaffolding or other equipment is suitable for the ground conditions- level, stable and not liable to fall or collapse under pressure. Consider the possibility of you falling, if you fall what will you fall on to?
What are the weather conditions and do they make the job a lot more dangerous than it should be. If it is extremely windy or rainy this needs to be taken into consideration.
Once these key questions have been answered and you are undertaking work from height of any particular nature you can attempt to ensure safe working with the help of these handy tips:
- Make sure there is a plan for what to do if someone falls or there is an emergency.
- Take regular breaks especially when from working on a ladder. You shouldn't work for longer than half an hour without a break.
- Make sure that those involved in the job have the right health and safety training and the correct equipment for the task. It is important that they have the correct skills, training and experience and have been consulted about the job and the correct equipment that is needed.
- When working with machines adhere to electrical safety rules and avoid climbing mechanical equipment.
- Always use safety equipment such as helmets if they are provided.
- Behave sensibly at all times to avoid unnecessary injuries
The vast majority of workplaces have procedures in place to help avoid serious falls from height from occurring. Following this advice and the safety procedures in your workplace can help to prevent dangerous falls from height and the injuries associated with them.