Of all workplace injuries, working at heights, especially at construction sites poses a significantly high level of risk.
Reportedly, every year, workers succumb to heavy injuries either leaving them disabled or dead falling from heights while working on high risebuildings in Australia. A significant number of such mishaps are solely due to lack of effective training, improper use of workplace safety gear, or faulty equipment in place.
Here’s a look at a handful of common mistakes that one can avoid when working at heights.
Table of Contents
Early Assessment of Risks
While a company assumes the best safety standards for work, accidents do happen from time to time. However, a good way to mitigate the risk factors is to assess a construction site and working conditions beforehand.
You will need to send your worker to the identified site and climb heights with proper workplace safety gear. As he runs a check on everything else, take time to make notes regarding the length of rails required, the number of nets to arrest sudden fall, the number of anchor points required, lifts and ladder usage conditions, and everything else in between.
Also, run a check across the roof to identify holes or areas with weak support and obstacles in the way. Doing so will help you design the best roof fall arrest systemfor your workers.
Ladders and Lifts
When it comes to working at heights, both ladders and lifts render excellent support.
Nevertheless, lifts and ladders contribute the most in terms of construction site mishaps.
The reasons aren’t too obscure to scan.
Several times, people tend to use ladders in the wrong way that includes testing them against weak surfaces, like plastic gutters and windows. Also, not to forget that Platforms and Ladders / stairway ladders are never meant to work with heavy objects resting on them. Repeated occurrences can significantly weaken the ladder leading to breaking and toppling incidents.
Taking into account that there are several types of ladders involved when working across high rise buildings in Sydney, one should secure them well and make adequate adjustments before starting the work.
On the other end, we have lifts which come as a worthy alternative to ladders, especially for really high climbs. While using lifts, it is important that you strongly keep yourself confined within the designated safe area and hold the supporting rails. You should never lean forward. Also, it is necessary to stand still to maintain a firm stand on the ground in case of a mishap.
Improper Use of PPE
Among all workplace safety gear, improper use of PPE further leads to mishaps associated with working at heights. Take a piece of fall-arrest equipment, like a harness, for instance.
When working on a ladder, the harness can help protect the person from taking on an injury. Hence, effective training of workers is necessary to make the best use of such safety equipment.
For any organization undertaking a construction job, it is their foremost responsibility to ensure their protective equipment and safety devices are in top-notch condition. Also, every single worker, no matter what, should check their PPE by themselves before they start climbing heights to start work.
Alongside, all safety procedures to be followed by the workers should be documented and provided to one and all workers. In case, the construction site holds proximity to a hazardous area, make sure to denote the same by marking the area.
More than sixty percent of workplace injuries when taken into an analysis make way for one underlying reason–lack of proper training.
No matter what you do, training your people to work at heights is of utmost importance. It doesn’t matter if it’s as low as five or six feet, effective training should be carried out in handling key safety procedures like rope access training, working with ladders, using scaffolds, and more. After all, the workplace safetygearwon’t help much, unless one is adequately trained to use the same.
Undeniably, working at heights across high rise buildings in Australia is downright challenging and full of risks. However, with a little bit of pre-assessment to mitigate risks, and avoiding the common pitfalls of safety, one can not only keep themselves secure but also ensure a safe working environment for other fellow workers.