What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Working at Height?
No job is without risks, but when you’re working at heights, it’s your life that’s at stake. Working at heights requires additional precautions and safety measures. It also requires employers to equip their workers with protective equipment and implement working at heights training.
And working at heights doesn’t only include people working on tall skyscrapers or towers. More often than not, falls occur only several feet above the ground – falling from ladders, through fragile surfaces and roofs, and so on.
Here are some Do’s and don’t’s that could help you out if you’re working at heights.
1. Do as much as you can from the ground
Doing as much work on the ground level as possible won’t always be an option but whenever it is, make sure you do. Try to minimize the amount of work at any height – think about possibilities of bringing certain work to the ground level and then working from there.
Also, consider whether machines could replace you at the heights or if there is any other approach that can help you spend the least amount of time working at heights.
2. Don’t overload the ladders
Some of the most common reasons for accidents when working at heights include overloading of ladders you’re working on. It’s normal that you want to get everything done without having to go up and down the ladder a million times.
However, loading your ladder with equipment and material is a bad idea. No matter how sturdy the ladder looks, it can only take as much weight.
3. Do make sure that the equipment is appropriate
When working at heights having the right kind of equipment is crucial. The equipment should be strong, stable, and suitable for the task at hand. Correct equipment can save lives.
It’s also important that you have a safe way of carrying all the equipment from one place to another. Having a backpack that can hold your tools and equipment is safer than using your pockets. Also, lanyards can be a good way to prevent tools from being dropped.
4. Don’t reach too far for tools, ladders, or equipment
If a certain tool or piece of equipment is out of your reach, don’t try to reach for it. When working at heights the worst thing that you could do is reach for something. You could tip over or lose your balance. Just one wrong step can be fatal when working at heights.
This is why having the right kind of equipment is necessary.
5. Do ensure the safety measures
Wearing protective personal equipment (PPE) is a must. PPE includes full-body harnesses, helmets, Kevlar, lanyards, and so on.
It’s also highly important that you choose quality equipment and that you don’t skimp on it. The harnesses come at many different prices, but sometimes you’ll have to give more if you want to ensure comfort as well as safety. Comfort when working at heights is equally as important as safety.
Do the research and determine what kind of height safety equipment and measures you need. For example, if you have people welding at heights, you’ll need to ensure they have heat protection as well. So, wearing Kevlar is a good idea.
6. Don’t forget to check weather conditions
Strong winds can affect your work and your safety at height. Your safety system may be affected, strong winds cause objects to fly and so much more. If there are strong winds in the forecast, avoid working at heights at all costs – your safety or the safety of your workers should always come first.
Similarly, ice and snow can cause slips and falls, so suspending work when such weather is predicted is the wisest thing to do. As for thunder and lighting, since working at heights you and all your equipment are more susceptible to being struck by lighting, so also don’t work if thunder and lightning are likely.
7. Do use passive protection
You should use any form of passive protection whenever it’s possible. Railing guards are a form of passive protection and they are the most common way of keeping workers safe at a certain height.
The railing systems are many and they can be appropriate for almost any rooftop style. Railings are always recommended as they are the easiest fall protection systems that can be found.
When it comes to working at heights, there is never being too careful or too protected. Accidents happen when you least expect them, that’s why it’s highly important that we take safety seriously.
In addition to proper training, appropriate protection and focus can be of great help when working at heights.