Work at height awareness
There were 43,000 non-fatal accidents involving falls from height across all industries. Over 60% of deaths during working at height from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms and roof edges and through fragile roofs.
Falls from high elevations result in more serious injuries than other types of industrial accidents. Often workers suffer broken bones, spinal injuries and paralysis.
The funny thing is that we’re all very careful with ourselves in private life. We wear seat belts when we drive cars. We wear helmets when we ride motorcycles. We put all kinds of devices in our homes to protect our families. Everywhere we go, we’re protected from serious injury by some sort of safety device, except where we need protection most right up there on the job site.
It’s been produced for all those who’ve heard that it can’t be done, but who really think that it should be Be Done. fall protection can be practical, and it can be provided economically. And more importantly, it can save lives.
You’d never construct a building without a blueprint. Because the challenges are so complex. Fall protection problems are equally complex. But most projects begin without much thought to solving the problems. Workers are usually left to their own devices. Most of the time that means working without fall protection.
The solutions begin with planning before work commences at elevation.
Each job site is different, and each solution must be crafted to the specific job site at hand. A fall protection work plan is simply a job hazard analysis. It’s like a blueprint for worker safety at higher elevations.
The fall protection work plan will recognize the specific fall hazards at a particular job site. Provide the appropriate fall protection methods to be used. Identify the assembly, maintenance and inspection procedures of the fall protection system and provide for the training and rescue of workers who will use this system.
The first step in this process is recognizing the hazards.
- How much horizontal travel is required
- How much vertical travel
- Where are the obstructions.
- Environmental conditions like icy slick or wet surfaces.
The fall protection work plan will look at all these issues and more, including the number of workers involved and how often the task is performed.
We’ll be looking at the three main types of fall protection.
Fall restraint systems
Fall arrest systems
When planning for the fall hazards in a job site, fall restraint methods are always preferred because they prevent a worker from falling in the first place. Fall restraint solutions are neither complicated nor expensive to implement. High activity areas should be identified and fitted with fall restraint solutions, such as permanent or temporary guardrails.
We’ve all seen hydro electric workers using work positioning systems. The use of a pole belt when climbing a pole restricts the workers travel and eliminates the possibility of a fall. And all the while the worker has two hands free to perform his job.
A bucket truck provides a safe platform from which to perform work at high elevations . Elevated work platforms suspended stagings and scaffolding, all provide a safer footing when working at heights. While temporary guard rails and other physical barriers are effective and economical ways to prevent falls, warning lines can be used to coordinate fall hazard areas.
When it’s impractical to provide fall or strain, the workers next line of protection is fall arrest where the workers fall is arrested by means of a body harness or safety net.
There’s many different types of fall arrest equipment, but they all have three elements in common. An anchorage point, connecting means or lanyard, and a body holding device or harness. Working together, these three elements constitute a personal fall arrest system.
It’s important to wear the right harness properly fitted.
The lanyard should be connected in line with the spine, where the shock of the fall can be distributed between the shoulders and the hips. shock absorbing lanyards go a long way and cushioning the force of the fall, but they can lengthen the fall as well.
Choose an anchor that will let you move enough to do your job. Check out the anchor point thoroughly before trusting your life to it. The anchor point must be strong enough to bear the forces of a fall and be free of any damage. Also have to do thirdparty inspection of the equipment have to be done prior to
Try to stay close to the anchor point. If you move too far away from your anchor and fall you risk swinging into objects below. This is called a swing fall hazard. The further you move horizontally from the anchor point, the greater the swing fall hazard.
Lifeline systems can be vertical or horizontal. They’re designed to go beyond the length limitations of a lander, providing both mobility and protection.
Vertical lifelines with rope grabs are particularly useful when you’re involved in work at height. The rope grab is designed to lock onto the lifeline when a fall occurs, retractable lanyards and lifelines have a locking mechanism which activates when a fall occurs like an automotive seatbelt.
These devices are designed to arrest free fall in inches and eliminate the dangerous slack that can develop using fixed length lanyards. Safety nets are designed to provide passive fall protection under and around elevated work sites such as bridge construction, the net is there to catch the worker after a fall.
When it’s impractical to use fall arrest or restraint devices, we need to modify our work procedures as a means of providing fall protection. Erecting scaffold is a relatively dangerous job in terms of falling, so it’s important to follow correct work procedures when putting up scaffold.
Planning and training are extremely important. The employer must try to foresee the situations that the workers might encounter. The workers must then be provided with appropriate training, so that they are as experienced as possible and know the range of options available to them.
Fall protection starts with planning. When you look at a particular job site, recognize the specific fall hazards and plan solutions to deal with them. This will become the blueprint for worker safety, the fall protection work plan.
The solutions will include fall restraint methods, which prevent workers from falling and fall arrest devices which stop a fall in progress. Where these techniques are not practical.
Variations on work procedures should be considered and prepare it for to deal with the possible fall hazards. Learn how to use the equipment correctly and maintain it carefully.
In the event of a fall, have an effective rescue plan and make sure that everyone is trained properly. We’ve all heard that fall protection is too much of a hassle that it gets in the way of production or that it costs too much to implement. But the fact is that fall protection doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be used easily on the job site. Why use fall protection? There’s a real simple answer. It could save your life.
At Arbrit we have trained more that 70000 individuals in health and safety. We have experienced trainers who can give an indepth knowledge into health and safety. If you like to get trained for work at height awareness. Fill the form below