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.
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.
Summer is here and there is no better time than now to fix up that old broken roof that has been leaking all winter.
Many factors should be considered when re-roofing ones home from the size of the tile to your personal safety at such a height. The tile should match your current roof as best as you can, roofing tiles start from as little as 25p each so unless you have a mansion (and there for I doubt you will be doing this yourself) no expense should be spared in the quality to ensure a tight sealed roof that will last for years to come.
Further from the quality and design of your roofing tiles one should take a serious consideration as to the type of safety equipment used at height such as harness kits and fall arrest equipment to ensure that there is absolutely no risk of fatal injury by fall, obviously there are certain steps that cannot be undertaken to prevent that small graze to your arm should you slip, however at least you’ll not break anything or worse risk death.
One should choose a suitable harness that supports and protects you to an adequate standard, this does not mean you need to go out and purchase a fully blown riggers harness for £200 or so, a simple two point safety harness will provide you with a two point connection with safety shoulder straps and a couple ‘D’ rings to enable you to connect yourself up to a rope, lanyard, fall arrest block or webbing strap to secure yourself and prevent a fall. There are a number of ‘off the shelf’ roofers height safety packages available online, perform a simple web search and you’ll find the kit you need, look to pay around £150 for a full kit, consider it an insurance premium that will never let you down, £150 to save a life certainly outweighs the heartbreak of your family and friends if something happened.