Before you set foot on a ladder or scaffold, or attach a harness to work from a height of more than 2-3 metres, you should be completing a risk assessment. At times, even the simplest risks can be overlooked, which may lead to a minor, or even a major accident. Keep an eye out for these potential hazards at your work site.
1.Using Old, or Poorly Maintained Safety Equipment
Keeping employees safe is a priority for businesses. Unfortunately, many workers may be using equipment that has passed its use-by date. A specialist personal protection equipment (PPE) company, such as Safe At Heights , can help assess the safety items you have, and kit you out with any you may need for your job. Fall arrest equipment is the last line of defence if you suffer a fall, so make sure you can rely on the products you use. If you are unsure what equipment is best for your job, the experience and knowledge of a PPE expert can help you make the right decisions.
2. Uneven Surfaces
Whether you are using a ladder or an elevated work platform (EWP), an uneven surface poses risks to your safety. For example, an uneven surface places the ladder, scaffolding or platform slightly off-balance, which can lead to slipping and falls. Likewise, wet ground can also cause the platform to move while it is being used, leaving the user exposed to a potential fall. Don’t ever use blocks for additional height, or to act as a leveller. The potential for a fall is too high.
3. Incorrect Footwear or Clothing
Being safe while working at heights requires the right protection for your feet. Dropping a tool onto your foot can cause an injury. But have you also considered how your footwear affects your safety while climbing a ladder? What about your clothing? Slipping off a ladder rung happens in a split second, particularly if the user is wearing the wrong footwear. Kit yourself out with clothing that won’t catch on tools or machinery. Be sure you have gloves, safety glasses or a helmet to reduce the chance of an injury too.
4. Inadequate Training
Understanding safety procedures is essential for a safe work site. Training your staff in the correct use of equipment and machinery, as well as safe work practices while at heights, can help reduce the chance of an accident. If you don’t have regular training sessions, there has never been a better time to get started!
5. Environmental Factors
Using steel ladders in stormy conditions is a clear don’t on the work site. But keep in mind additional factors that may increase risks to job involving heights, like windy conditions. Rainfall will also impact the ability to safely operate EWPs or even to use ladders, as they can soften the ground underneath and potentially open up potholes. If the conditions turn windy or stormy while working at heights (particularly on rooftops), consult with your site supervisor before continuing.
When you are working from heights, taking a few moments to assess potential risks is imperative. Using personal protection equipment helps reduce the risk of falling, so investing in high-quality products is definitely worth doing. Don’t just aim to meet Workplace Health & Safety standards. Aim to get everyone home safe.