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Safety Tips for Working at

Height
What is work at height?

Before we discuss, what are the safety tips that workers can adopt at height, let‘s understand
first what work at height is?
Work at height means someone is working above the ground floor and could fall, if
precautions were not taken or due to fragile surface.

Work at height can involve:


 Working above ground or floor level.
 Working within confined space
 Could fall from the edge of a raised
platform
 Working on fragile surfaces such as floors
above a void or fragile roofs.
 Places with the possibility of high risk of
falling through an opening either on ground
level or from upper level. For example,
holes in floor, manholes, excavations, and
pits.
A slip or a trip on the level does not come under work at height because a fall from height
has to embroil a fall from one level to a lower level. Likewise, it does not include walking
up and down a permanent staircase in a building as well.

Why safety is needed while


working at height?
Whenever we talk about ‗working at height‘, what is the first thing that comes to your
mind? Safety, isn‘t it?

Whether you are working at heights on a daily basis or just once in a while, your
attention on safety during those times is of utmost importance. It takes one mistake or
one second to turn a routine work task into fatality. Falls are debilitating and deadly as
well. Employers have to be very careful and prepared to protect the employees each
and every time they could be exposed.
Use Rails
In order to keep your workers safe and achieve compliance, passive protection seems as the
easiest way because there is nothing that they do actually to keep themselves safe other than
stay within the rails.

Either use rails that are built by jobsite carpenters or use pre-fabricated rails from
a manufacturer. Pre-fabricated railings can be everlastingly affixed or portable to suit your
requirements. Regardless of what safety thing are you using, you will discover rails are the
easiest fall protection system to use.

Select the Proper PPE


Whether you are using Personal protective equipment (PPE) or Personal Fall Arrest Systems
(PFAS), make sure you‘re picking up the right equipment.
 Use full-body harnesses that meet ANSI standards to protect you from high risk of
fall.
 Apart from harnesses, you can also opt other personal equipment such as safety
helmets, gloves, high-visibility clothing, eye protection, safety footwear and safety
harnesses.
 Select the PPE as per the nature of workforce and your requirement
 Select the lanyards properly depending on the height at which you are working.
Inspect Your PPE
Inspection of equipment that you are
using plays a major role in keeping
your life safe. So, it is advisable to do
proper research and inspection of PPE
that you are going to opt while working
at height.

When it comes to lanyards and


harnesses, they need to be sporadically
inspected by a well-experienced person
with the knowledge to identify the
hazard and the authority to correct
it. This brief pre-work check could
save a life.
You can wear all kinds of fall protection equipment in the world, but if it permits you to hit
the lower level before it engrosses, it‘s pointless to use. Sounds weird, right? Perhaps, you
would be surprised if you get to know that many workers are still unaware of the distance
they are working on.

Many workers wear 6‘ lanyard with a deceleration device at 10-12‘ off the ground. With
this you are more vulnerable to risk of fall! Your actual fall distance needs to include the
length of your lanyard when deployed plus your body length below the D-ring and any sag
in your anchor system. Before you‘re able to use a 6‘ lanyard with deceleration device,
count on a good 18.5‘ minimum.
Safety anchor point is a crucial domain of a fall protection system. They are usually
deployed on the roof and are being used to connect lifelines, lanyards, and other forms of
tie-off that protect workers from falling.

See, what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says about the
parameters for a safe anchorage point in Section 1910.66 (Appendix C):
―Anchorages to which personal fall arrest equipment is attached shall be capable of
supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached, or shall be designed,
installed, and used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system which maintains a
safety factor of at least two, under the supervision of a qualified person.‖

―The anchorage should be rigid, and should not have a deflection greater than .04 inches (1
mm) when a force of 2,250 pounds (10 kN) is applied.‖

It is very easy to handle and as simple as a D-ring connection. There are two types of fall
protection anchors available i.e. permanent and temporary fall protection anchors. Along
with the inspection of PPE, you should also take care of selection of acceptable anchor
point.
Use Ladders Properly
We all have used ladders at home like to hang our Christmas lights, clean the gutters, paint the
living room, or change the high-hat bulb. But the usage of ladders at construction areas is quite
different.
 Ensure that ladder is the best way to do what you‘re doing.
 Provide proper training to your employees to let them recognize the proper usage
of it.
 Employers have to ensure that their employees know about this 3‘ extension, 4:1
ratio, 3 points of contact, and secured before using extension ladders.

Ensure Proper Use of Lifts


Lift is one of the easiest ways to go up and down if working at height. Consider the
points before using it.
 Any worker must be properly tied-off if using a boom lift, at any time, at any
height. ―Properly tied-off‖ not only keeps you secured to the engineered
anchor point associated with the lift, but it also does not wrap the lanyard
around the rails.

 Things with Scissor lifts are quite different. There is no regulatory


requirement to get tied-off properly in a scissor lift. However, while using
the lift make sure your gate and chain is closed and secured, respectively.

 Keep your feet planted firmly on the platform.

Train, Train, Train


Nowadays, there are many types of equipment available in the industrial field but still
the accidents occur. Do you know the reason? The answer is very simple — they are
not properly trained.
According to the OSHA coverage, 14 deaths occur every day at construction sites. And,
improper training is one of the major reasons behind this. So, it would be advisable to
provide proper training to your employees to let them work safely at heights. Risk of fall
will be zero down if employees utilize the equipment properly.
In order to control deaths or fatalities, one can follow the hierarchy of control:

 Eradicate the requirement for working at height if possible.


 Trim down the time workers spend at height by doing as much preparation as
possible at the ground level prior to commencing work.
 Segregate the hazard by means of edge protection, guardrails, and fencing, etc.
 Arrange warning signs to indicate the danger.
 Carry safety personal protective equipments and fall prevention systems
 Discipline:
• Instruction – make sure employees know what they are likely to do.
• Training – employees must be experienced and competent.
• Supervision – work should be pre-planned and monitored before execution.
• Information – employees must be aware of risks, hazards alongside emergency
procedures.
Being an employer or as an employee, it is important that you keep reasonable care to
provide safety for one and all. It is important to ensure that relevant fall protection kits
should be used to prevent off-the-ground fall accidents at construction sites. Following the
above mentioned instructions a worker can equip himself with the knowledge of right
attitude while working at height.