Actionable Steps to Take to Ensure Safety When Working at Heights

Actionable Steps to Take to Ensure Safety When Working at Heights

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By citiesabc resources

Without proper safety measures, working at heights is fraught with dangers and risks that can cause serious injury or even death. Every job that requires working on construction sites, or roofs, or performing maintenance tasks on elevated platforms must follow specific measures all the time. In this article, we'll go over some practical steps you may take for increased safety and reduced possibility of accidents and injuries when working at heights, whether you're an employer or employee.

Actionable Steps to Take to Ensure Safety When Working at Heights

Conduct Risk Assessment

Do a complete risk assessment to identify any dangers and take necessary steps before beginning any work at heights. Think of things like the weather, the height of the work area, the stability of the ladders or scaffolding, and any obstacles that could be in the way. Assess the competence of workers, training on working safely at heights they attended, and the equipment they have to perform their tasks. This will all help you to identify and prepare for any potential dangers upfront, making the workplace a much safer place.

Use the Proper Equipment

Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) are mandatory safety equipment for any worker doing work at heights. Based on the type of work that needs to be done, the employers must provide appropriate equipment. There is a wide range of quality in PFAS; some are constructed with superior materials that allow them to withstand more weight, resist fire and electricity better, and generally last longer. 

Always do your research to ensure you are getting the appropriate PFAS to match the working conditions and protect yourself or your workers against the dangers that are present. Depending on the type of job, you might need fireproof material, an arc-safe design, or additional D-rings. Always get the greatest PFAS for your work, no matter how much it costs, and never, ever cut corners on protective equipment.

Provide Training and Supervision

This is an imperative - workers must be properly trained to ensure their safety when working at heights. End of story. Not only because it is required by law, but also because anybody trying to protect themselves at a height without the necessary knowledge leaves too much chance for mistake and fatal consequences. Provide good training on how to prevent falls, identify potential dangers, deal with emergencies, and properly wear and use safety equipment. Those employees who are new to working at heights will need extra supervision to make sure they follow all safety procedures. Make sure to establish open communication so the whole team feels free to voice any questions or concerns they have about safety practices.

Secure Tools and Materials

When working at heights, it is not rare to drop tools and materials, but this can cause catastrophic harm to other workers below. Use tool lanyards, tethering systems, or tool belts with attachment points to appropriately secure tools and materials. Keep the workspace free of clutter and warn employees not to put anything that might cause them to fall near any unprotected edges. If you want to make sure that bystanders can't be hurt while work is being done at heights, you should think about putting up barricades or creating exclusion zones and preventing unauthorized access.

Inspect Equipment Regularly

Protective equipment should prevent all falls, but that will not always be the case if it's not inspected regularly. Every piece of personal protective equipment an employee wears when working at a height must first undergo an inspection and get approval from the appropriate authorities in accordance with occupational health and safety rules. Wear and strain on safety equipment, such as lanyards and harnesses, might eventually lead to its failure. Also, check that the D-rings are in good working order and not corroded and that the straps and clasps are secure. This has to be double-checked before each usage. The inspection must be detailed since a person's life might be saved by this quick pre-work routine.

Actionable Steps to Take to Ensure Safety When Working at Heights

Create and Follow Safety Protocols

Another important step to keep everyone on the job site safe when working at heights is to create and follow safety rules and protocols. Create and strictly adhere to these safety regulations including how to avoid falls, what to do in an emergency, and how to report incidents while working at heights. Verify that all employees have received initial training on these safety protocols and get ongoing refresher courses to strengthen their understanding. Always promote an environment where employees are encouraged to report safety issues and take an active role in identifying and addressing potential dangers.

Monitor Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can have a big impact on safety when working at heights outside. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and take the necessary measures to make sure your employees are safe from things like strong winds, rain, snow, and lightning. Think about delaying work at heights during bad weather or implementing extra safety measures such as temporary shelters, wind barriers, or non-slip surfaces. Keep the workers informed about any weather-related updates and safety protocols, so they can be aware of potential dangers and take proper action to stay safe.

Conduct Post-Work Debriefings and Evaluations

Once the work at heights is finished, conduct post-work debriefings and evaluations to assess safety performance, identify improvement areas, and communicate lessons learned. Motivate your employees to share their thoughts and feelings about the job, including any safety issues or observations they have. Improve safety procedures, revise training materials, and make any necessary adjustments based on their feedback to avoid such events in the future. Creating a safer working environment for everyone engaged in jobs conducted at heights will be achieved by regularly assessing and improving safety measures.

Working safely should always be your number one concern, no matter how often you or your employees work at height. Keep in mind that falls from heights are still the leading cause of death on the job. Even if it doesn't cause death, these falls can cause severe harm to the wounded worker and financial strain on the business. This is why implementing the measures that we mentioned has a big importance.

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