One in four construction deaths are caused by falls from height, according to Safe Work Australia. Meanwhile, 35 construction employees are seriously injured each day, while there are on average 36 fatalities each year.
Here at Webforge, we know how important the safety of your employees is. We contribute metal flooring and allied products to a variety of industries, many of which involve working from great heights. So, we've constructed this guide to working safely at height.
1) Recognise potential hazards
Identify all the hazards that could potentially occur at your site. This includes analysing each task that a worker might be expected to undertake, and identifying the risks involved. Once this has been done, make sure protocols and safety precautions are in place to tackle each possible hazard.
2) Contemplate working conditions
For example, will your staff be working on a site with lots of traffic or slopes? Does this require an elevating work platform that can reach over bad ground and obstructions? Or perhaps a more traditional tower scaffold might be better suited to your site.
Also think about how much time the work will require. If staff won't be working up there for long, a ladder might be sufficient, but any longer duration and scaffolding is a must.
3) Install edge protection
Edge protection needs to be placed on all perimeters and openings, as well as where there's brittle metal that can't take the weight of a person. Edge protection includes barriers, handrails, walkways and safety mesh.
4) Consider extra safety measures
A harness that will catch someone before they hit the ground is one of the best ways to avoid serious falls. If a fall does occur, a soft landing system will cushion the impact, potentially preventing breakages or even death.
5) Provide adequate supervision and training
Ensure all staff have undertaken a training course on working at height, and are regularly retrained and reminded of protocols, especially if government requirements have changed. You yourself need to ensure you are staying abreast of any developments in working at height regulations.
Make sure there is adequate supervision both in the planning and assessment stage, the construction of the working at height equipment, and during the building work itself.
Webforge operates in 10 countries, and works to the various international standards to ensure that you are complying with safety regulations no matter where in the world you're based. Please contact us if you have any questions about our metal flooring and allied products.