4 Basic Safety Precautions When Working at Heights
Working at heights presents a lot of unique risks that everyone, from handy homeowners to seasoned at-height workers, should be mindful of at all times. Between 2003 and 2011, 232 workers were recorded to have died due to falls, or 11% of all work-related deaths during the same period. Around 70% of these height-related fatalities involve workers aged 45 and above, and 37% are working in construction. What’s more, half of these fatalities are due to falls from a height of less than 3 metres.
Safety must be a top priority for anyone, regardless if they’re cleaning the gutters of their single-story home, stacking crates in a warehouse, or cleaning windows in a high-rise building. So before taking on a working at heights ticket or signing up for a chore that requires you to be off the ground, give serious thought to these safety considerations:
Get to know your workplace.
If you need to work at heights, you must familiarise yourself with the area you will be working on and how you will conduct work once you’re off the ground. Acquaint yourself with all the nooks and crannies of your at-height workplace. Among the details you should note are edges such as that of platforms, roofs, walls, and walkways; holes, which need to be fitted with guards; how much load can the workspace support; the stability of the structure you will be working on and if it can support itself and your weight; how slippery the surface is; and your entry and exit points and how you will get to different levels of the work area.
Stay on the ground if possible.
Consider this: are there other practical ways to do the task on the ground? If there are, then it might be preferable to work on the ground in the first place. If it’s an option to fabricate roofs on the ground or to install air-conditioning units on ground level, then do so. You can also reduce working at heights by reducing shelving height or by preferring using tools with extendable handles over going up the roof.
Stay on solid construction
Solid construction refers to any surface that is capable of supporting workers, the materials they need to get the job done, and the load of other items they might require. A solid construction should have barriers around its perimeter; safe entry and exit points like fixed ramps, stairways, and ladders; as well as surface that’s easily negotiable, such as grid mesh or checker plate flooring.
Use fall-prevention devices
If it’s not possible to complete the work on the ground or on solid construction, then make full use of fall-prevention devices to prevent accidents and injuries. Fall-prevention devices refer to equipment or materials that, once put in place, will not need to be adjusted or altered to prevent the person from falling. Some examples of this are perimeter guards, safety meshes, and elevating platforms.
One can never be too careful when working away from the ground, and working at heights remains to be one of the riskiest activities to this day. Follow these safety tips—or better yet, take a safety course for working at heights—so you can approach your work with more confidence and less risks for injury.