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Safety Considerations for Working at Heights 

29 January 2020

The most effective way to protect workers from falls and injuries from heights is to keep all work as close to ground level as possible, however, this is rarely plausible. Some work simply needs to be done without feet on the ground, and with this in mind the a key objective needs to be successful fall prevention. The official regulations on this subject were outlined in 2005, and here are some main points for consideration: 

 

Monitor the Workplace 

Ensure that no person at work passes across or near, or works on, from or near, a fragile surface where it is reasonably practicable to carry out work safely” –The Working at Height Regulation 2005 

Before any worker steps onto a work platform at height, evaluations should be done as to the safety of the work area. The strength of the material, as well as the condition and frequency of the supports should all be checked to ensure that they can safely hold the weight of any workers, alongside any material or equipment they might be carrying. This should then be monitored frequently to ensure that there hasn’t been any changes, especially if factors such as weather conditions may have adversely affected the area. 

 

Keep a Safe and Tidy Workspace 

Ensure that materials and objects are stored in such a way as to prevent risk to any person” – The Working at Height Regulation 2005

This is important no matter what form of construction work you’re conducting as it helps your team work safely and efficiently, rather than having to search around for tools. Keeping a tidy workspace also reduces the risk of debris and/or tools falling over the edge which may cause damage or injury to people or property.

 

Choose the Right Worker 

“Ensure any worker working at height is competent to do so”- The Working at Height Regulation 2005 

If work at height needs to be completed, it is imperative that this is carried out by a skilled and experienced worker with knowledge of all the appropriate procedures and equipment.

 

Plan for all Scenarios 

“Every employer shall ensure that work at height is— 

(a) properly planned; 

(b) appropriately supervised; and 

(c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe” 

– The Working at Height Regulation 2005  

It’s very important to plan for all scenarios to prevent serious incidents on site. This means you must plan through every foreseeable scenario and put in place mechanisms to protect the workers at all costs. Carry out risk assessments and then find the most appropriate edge protection products, including but not limited to barriers and personal fall arrest systems such as Alsipercha and Alupercha. Vertemax provide an expansive range of safety products that are aimed at ensuring unrivalled workzone safety. Deploying these products on site can ensure that you’re being the most pro-active you can be in protecting your workers.

Once you’ve considered all of the above points and have your edge protection systems in place, you will be able to begin works at height project with the security of knowing you have done everything possible to protect the workers. Whenever working at height, it’s important to remember the three control measures as outlined by Health and Safety Executive:  

Avoid-

Every employer shall ensure that work is not carried out at height where it is reasonably practicable to carry out the work safely otherwise than at height.” 

Prevent-

Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury” 

Minimise-

“So far as is reasonably practicable, provide sufficient work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences” 

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