Working at height is one of the largest causes of workplace accidents; between 2012-2013, a total of 5,274 major falls from height were reported in the UK, and it was the biggest cause of fatal accidents in the workplace. Whilst working at height is often essential for construction projects, a lot of these accidents could be avoided with the simple implementation of proper training and the appropriate equipment. Take a look at the tips below for some advice on how to keep your workplace safe.
Familiarise Yourself with Regulations
You and your team should be aware of the current legislations surrounding your work. The latest version is the Working At Height Regulations (2005) which states what every employer is obliged to do regarding planning, training, equipment etc.
Conduct Thorough Risk Assessments
The law stipulates that employers and contractors are obligated to assess the risk of any work from height. You will need to identify any potential hazards around the workplace, including risks of falls, slips and trips and any hazards related to the equipment or chemicals you are using for the job.
Record the conclusions you have made and consider what precautions you could put in place to help prevent any accidents.
Plan Access Routes
From the information you have collected during your risk assessment, you should be able to begin planning safe access routes to carry out your work. Try to avoid working from height wherever possible and, where it is required, always make sure that the necessary precautions are in place.
Provide Regular Health & Safety Training
It’s important that your entire team have a full understanding of the risks involved in what they are doing and that they are given full instructions on how best to avoid them. Ensure that they receive regular training in the best practices for health and safety. If staff are using any specialist equipment, it’s vital that they have the correct training to operate that safely and efficiently as well.
Take Care With Fragile Surfaces
One of the major causes of accidents at height is workers falling through fragile surfaces, such as asbestos cement roofs. Having a quality roof access hatch will keep you and your staff safe and secure at great heights.
Use The Correct Equipment
It is advised not to use ladders if the task involved heavy lifting or if it will last longer than 30 minutes. If you are performing heavy duty tasks at height, you may need specialist listing equipment. Scaffolding is a great safety feature or, if your staff are required to lift heavy items, you may want to look into purchasing proper lifting equipment.