Tips To Stay Safe While Working At Height

In Britain, the construction sector employs just 5 percent of the total workforce, but it has been found to be associated with 27 percent of fatal injuries, many of which have been the outcome of falls. However, it needs to be noted that construction workers are not susceptible to fall injuries alone with falls from ladders or through brittle roofs being observed as other common fall-injury incidents. The information provided by this article is intended to help you devise an appropriate working-at-height policy and fall protection strategy.

Firstly the most efficient and effective way to provide height safety is to invest in good quality Height Safety Equipment which will provide optimum safety at height when used in the intended ways, further to that I have the below recommendations and procedures that will ensure you take the necessary steps to comply fully with expectations.

The Working At Height Regulations 2005 apply to activities that are associated with a risk of fall injuries. An amendment made to the regulations in 2007 required people who had expertise in caving or climbing to lead and provide instructions to people who had to work at height. The team leaders or the duty holders need to ensure that all work at height is organised in an appropriate manner and carried out by competent individuals. They are also required to conduct risk assessment studies and keep mechanisms in place to prevent fall incidents that might result from working on fragile surfaces. Additionally, they are also responsible for work equipment inspection and maintenance.

Additionally, there are certain common guidelines that you should follow to ensure operational safety. Keep appropriate arrangements in place to carry out maximum tasks from the ground. For example, you may assemble materials or structures on the ground and use lifting equipment to lift them up to the required position. You should practise enough care and keep precautionary measures in place when workmen are required to work on or near fragile surfaces. Make sure that your workmen get enough space to conveniently enter and leave the work area. Keep emergency evacuation and rescue procedures in place and deploy appropriate measures to prevent injuries that may result from falling objects. Make sure that the access surface that your workmen use is strong enough to support their body weight or the weight of equipment that they would carry with them.

Avoid using ladders or step ladders if you are required to handle loads or to spend more than thirty minutes to complete a task. It is not a good idea to use ladders if you are not able to maintain contact at three points while carrying out a task. Avoid trying to overreach while you are on a ladder, making sure that both of your feet rest on the same step while you undertake a task. Most importantly, you may want to attend a safety training course to get an in-depth knowledge on the use of fall protection equipment and on various safety procedures that you can undertake to safeguard yourself and your teammates from potential hazards. Additionally, you will also gain a deeper insight on the legal responsibilities which will help you to devise better work practices.

A Brief Overview of LOLER

Lifting operations are associated with risks of injury and when they are handled in an inappropriate manner, they can invite additional costs to the company or people who are accountable for operational success and safety. To promote safe and efficient management of lifting operations, the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) were enacted in 1998. These regulations apply to companies or people who own, operate, and supervise the upkeep of lifting equipment. Generally, employers are also required to abide by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), which lays down the things that employers need to do to protect their employees in the workplace and as a matter of fact, proper upkeep of lifting equipment is one of those requirements.

The regulations require a competent individual to plan, handle, and supervise lifting equipment and lifting operations in an appropriate and safe manner. The LOLER also specifies that the lifting equipment should be fit for the purpose and it should be appropriately marked with maintenance and defect-related data being recorded in an accurate manner. The regulations apply to the operation of any equipment that is used in the worksite. However there are certain categories of equipment which are used in lifting, but are not considered as lifting equipment and hence, they are not subject to the provisions of LOLER. The use and upkeep of such instruments, including platform lifts, escalators, and stair lifts, is governed by PUWER.

Notably, the Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 specifies that employers as well as the self-employed are liable to ensure the safety of people who are not employed by them, but are most likely to be affected by their operations in some way. Therefore, businesses that permit the public to use lifting equipment are responsible for equipment maintenance and risk management and are required to abide by the strict terms and conditions of the LOLER and PUWER.

LOLER has also specified guidelines on the selection of the right lifting equipment. Employers need to make sure that all lifting equipment is installed in such a way that it reduces the risk of injuries which may arise when a load is unintentionally released or when a load falls freely or strikes a person. In addition, all lifting equipment and accessories need to indicate the safe working loads (SWL) that they can lift safely. In some cases, the SWL of an equipment or accessory may depend on its configuration and so the SWL information must disclose all configurations and the corresponding load capacities. Accessories should also bear indications to reflect the parameters that may affect their safe use. When lifting operations involve the lifting of people, employers need to hire specialists who can handle operations safely.

Planning lifting operations is crucial to ensuring operational safety. This will require staff to practise prudence and foresee risks before they translate into incidents. This can be managed through appropriate allocation of resources including human resources. The planning process may typically involve an attention-to-detail approach on a number of criteria including pre-use checking, overload, proximity hazards, environment, visibility, attaching and detaching loads, and equipment re-use. Simply put, the plan needs to clearly state the actions that may be needed at each step as well as the responsibilities that are allocated to personnel.

If you have any LOLER and PUWER Crane Servicing inspection requirements there are a huge number of companies all over the world who will undertake the inspection or service required to ensure that your company and equipment stay compliant while your employees and workers stay safe. Simply take a quick google search for those types of companies in your local area.

Inspection tips for your full-body harness

With falls being the leading cause of death in construction sites and in work sites where people are required to operate at elevations, employers should make sure that they adopt appropriate safety measures to minimise incidents. Besides keeping other safety measures, such as guardrails or safety nets, in place, employers should make sure that their workers are equipped with full-body harnesses that form an integral part of fall protection system. The successful use of fall protection systems are largely dependent on workers’ ability to appropriately inspect and use the equipment and hence, employers should make sure that they provide the necessary training to their workers.

A safety harness should be inspected before use as every harness comes with its own wearable life that may vary depending on the number of times it is used and the conditions that it has been subjected to. A harness may show noticeable signs of damage and it is a good idea to replace it with a new harness to eliminate mishap possibilities. As a matter of fact, harnesses need to be inspected frequently by a competent person who can detect corrosions and suggest suitable actions.

If you are responsible for inspecting full-body harnesses, you may consider the following tips to determine if a harness can be used further:

  • The grommets are subjected to heavy wear because of recurrent buckling or unbuckling. Loose or broken grommets are warning signs that may call for a replacement decision.
  • Inspect for cracked, distorted or broken D-rings besides inspecting the D-ring back pads. The D-ring, if it is good health, is expected to spool easily.
  • Check if the outer and the center bars of the friction and mating buckles appear to be straight. Inspect for distortion at the attachment points of the center bar.
  • Create an inverted U with the webbing. Check if you are able to spot cuts, broken fibers, burns, chemical damage, or pulled stitches. Check on both the sides, throughout the length of the webbing. Closely inspect the paint and solvents in the webbing and rope. Some varieties of paints contain solvents and drying agents that may induce chemical damage or restrict the movement of fibers.
  • Closely inspect the attaching buckles. Check for cut fibers, distortions or any abnormal wear.

Harnesses come in different styles and hence, you should always read the instructions to understand how they can be used in the right way.

Lifting Equipment Safety Procedures

Safety is always the highest priority when executing a heavy lift. Without correct risk assessment surrounding people maybe at high risk to a heavy load accidentally dropping on their head!

Generally speaking lifting equipment should be inspected every 6-12 months (different products require different inspection intervals) by a qualified lifting inspection officer/company. Gear should also be inspected for wear and tear or damage deeper than the surface, this should be done by the user before each lift.

Most companies that use lifting equipment these days have a system for storing test certificates or certificates of conformity. These are required for each item of lifting equipment by law. It shows that the item has been tested or inspected to the relevant standards with any noted defects listed. In the event of an accident this will become a valuable document, without one you run big risks. Each item of lifting gear will feature a serial number that will tie in with the certificate, copies are also usually held by manufacturers and can be traced using the serial number.

Lifting Equipment inspection has become a growing topic in todays market as health and safety laws are tightened and risk is reduced companies are treating inspection and maintenance very seriously in order to secure the safety of their employees.

For more information on Lifting Equipment and inspection please visit Lifting Equipment Store.