In case your line of work requires you to work at height on a regular basis or even just occasionally, it’s of the utmost importance that you stay safe. Seeing as how just one mistake can lead to a serious injury or fatality, it’s vital that you are prepared to protect yourself and your employees on even the most routine assignments. Here is how you can reduce the risk when working at height.
Get the right PPE and regularly inspect it
The first step toward staying safe is getting the right PPE. When working at heights, the personal protective equipment you will be using is usually PFAS – personal fall arrest systems. While PPE like gloves, goggles, and helmets will surely be a part of your equipment, you will also need harnesses, lanyards, and some situation-specific gear. You need to do proper research when it comes to equipment to ensure your workers are protected as well as comfortable. Some pieces might be more expensive but they can mean the difference between life and death. What is more, it’s essential that you regularly have the equipment inspected by a competent person that will recognize potential hazards. Checking the gear will not take too long but can save someone’s life.
Use railings when possible
When working at height, you want to use railings if possible. This form of passive protection is an easy way to keep everyone safe and adhere to safety rules. There are various railing systems you can implement such as parapet mounted railing, non-penetrating railing, and metal roof railing. Using railings doesn’t require any extra equipment or training and once they’re in place, you’re adding a layer of security for yourself and your employees.
Understand the fall distance
Another important thing you need to keep in mind is the fall distance. In order for your protective equipment to be effective, it needs enough time to engage. So, you need to know how long it will take for the gear to deploy and include the length of the lanyard, the length of a person’s body below the D-ring, and any sag in the harness and anchor system. It’s vital that you correctly calculate what the minimal distance for fall clearance is.
Pick an appropriate anchor point
Something else you have to take into account when thinking about safety when working at height is the anchor point. As there are many different kinds of anchor points, you want to ensure you’re using the appropriate one for each situation. For example, you can’t simply attach yourself to a PVC pipe. You want an anchor point that can handle a load of 5,000 pounds. Furthermore, it should be approved by a professional engineer that can calculate the expected load. Many buildings come with anchor points built-in but if you’re not sure about how much load they can bear, it’s best to install your own.
Know which type of equipment is necessary
While the safest way of staying safe is staying on the ground, you will need to go in the air eventually. In that case, it’s important to bear in mind that the harness is not the only equipment you will need. You also need ladders, scaffolding, or lifts. You need to assess which one is the best for the situation at hand. For instance, scaffolding with railing is the best approach when painting a building. Then, a lift might be the most convenient for a curb appeal project such as updating signage. What is more, you can also employ safety nets and air bags that can catch a falling person. Whichever solution you opt for, it’s vital that everyone knows how to use it properly in order to stay safe.
Don’t forget to train employees properly
Finally, it’s essential that every single employee that works at height is properly trained. That means knowing how to use the equipment they are given and assessing the risk of each situation. Training is required by law in many places so don’t overlook this important aspect of working at height as that could put everyone involved in danger.
If you run a company that often works at height, you certainly understand how important safety is. Keep these tips in mind to make sure everyone is protected.