Safety Advice When Working at Height
Working at height carries more risk than working at ground level. However, if workers follow safety guidelines, they can accomplish what they need to at height without undue risk to themselves. Workers need to know about appropriate equipment as well as about how to use that equipment safely.
Plan In Advance
The most important way to ensure worker safety when working at height is to plan the job in advance. Job coordinators must consider which equipment would be best to get the job done, what special safety considerations are involved with the job and what training workers may require in order to safely perform the job.
Workers should familiarize themselves with the equipment and job requirements. They should minimize distractions by turning off mobile phones or leaving them behind while working at height. Workers also should not use personal music players or other devices that interfere with putting their full attention onto the job at hand. They should also speak to their supervisors about anything they feel uncomfortable with or unsure about so that they can receive appropriate training.
Use Proper Equipment
The type of equipment workers require to work at height varies based on the type of job they are attempting to do. For example, ladders should only be used for short-term jobs and workers should not use this equipment if they are going to be remaining at height for a significant period of time.
All equipment should be checked regularly for signs of wear or other problems. This is especially important if workers rent equipment for the purpose of completing a particular job. Rented equipment may not always be of the highest quality due to how many others have used it.
Finally, workers must be sure to place equipment properly for greatest safety. Ladders must be secured at the foot and placed in a manner that doesn't interfere with pedestrian or other traffic and elevated platforms must be used only on firm, level ground.
Have a Rescue Plan
Workers at height should never go up without first having learned and practiced a rescue plan. If a worker should become trapped at height, it's important to be able to reach and free the worker quickly; time is of the essence to prevent serious injuries. Thus, job coordinators should first go over rescue plans verbally, then have workers practice several rescue drills before work begins. Practicing rescue plans makes it more likely that workers will be effective in helping to resolve an emergency situation.
Take Risks Into Consideration
Every work site presents different risks. When working at height, workers must take the specific risks of the site they are working on into consideration. Workers should examine the site prior to beginning work so that they can identify these risks and make plans to minimize risk. For example, workers may wear safety harnesses or use other safety equipment in order to minimize the risk of falling or becoming trapped.