Working at height remains among the top causes of serious injury and fatality in the workplace. While this type of work is never without risk, both hire companies and individual workers can minimise the risks if they understand working at height hazards and control measures and reduce the likelihood of a serious accident. Read on for our Working at Height hazards list, along with examples of how to address these risks in the workplace.
Falling even a few metres can result in serious injury or death. For this reason, it is vital to carry out a risk assessment before any job that requires an individual to work at height, as well as using fall prevention and protection systems – such as guardrails, harnesses and appropriate anchorage while working.
2. The Risk Of Fall Protection Equipment Failure
Fall protection equipment can significantly reduce the risk of injury – but only if used correctly, and properly maintained. Ensure that such equipment is not only used in line with its instructions, but that it is regularly inspected for damage and maintained, and that it is stored in a safe, dedicated space.
3. Overloaded Ladders
Every ladder will have a maximum safe working load and exceeding this maximum load could increase the risk of the ladder falling or collapsing. This includes the work person and any load they may carry or exert i.e. overhead drilling into concrete. Check the label on the ladder to ensure that you are aware of the maximum load before you begin.
4. Fragile Working Surfaces
Risk assessments should be undertaken for every roof and other surface on which people and equipment will stand. If this assessment reveals that the roof may be fragile, put procedures into place to ensure that the correct precautions are taken.
5. Falling Objects
When others are working at height, there is a risk that those on the ground could be struck by falling objects. Barrier off a safe area to create a “safe zone” should anything fall. The correct protective site equipment (such as hard hats and safety boots) should be worn by all on-site to minimise risk.
6. Improper Ladder Positioning
In order to ensure stability, ladders should be rested against solid, immovable surfaces. Should a ladder be placed against a weaker surface – such as guttering or glazing – this will increase the risk of falling.
By referring back to these working at height hazards examples before every job, you can minimise the risk of workplace accidents, as well as giving your workers confidence in the knowledge that you have their safety at heart.
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