Working at heights can be dangerous, even for experienced workers. If you’re new to this type of work, take these tips into consideration so you don’t put yourself or your co-workers in danger.
Do use personal fall protection
It’s important to take the proper precautions when working at heights, including wearing fall protection equipment.
Fall protection equipment can help keep you safe from a fall. Fall protection is any device or system that helps prevent a fall from occurring. This includes personal fall arrest systems, safety nets, and guardrails.
A personal fall arrest system (PFAS) is used to stop a worker in case they slip or fall while using other forms of scaffolding or ladders. A PFAS consists of an anchorage point, a self-retracting lifeline (SRL), also known as a lanyard, and an energy absorber/deceleration device such as a shock absorber or soft-stop model. Make sure your PFAS is inspected and certified annually by a qualified person.
Do use a safety harness and lanyard
Make sure you’re wearing a safety harness and lanyard whenever you’re working at heights of 6 feet or more. This will keep you tethered to something solid in case you fall, helping prevent serious injuries.
This is the most basic piece of equipment that needs to be used when working at heights. Using it will help ensure that if you lose your footing or fall off, there’s a way to catch yourself.
Do use fall arrest systems if you work from an aerial lift
Aerial lifts allow workers to reach heights of up to 60 feet without having to climb up a ladder or scaffold. This makes it easier for workers who have limited mobility or who are carrying tools or materials.
But it also increases the risk of a fall because there is less room for error in reaching out and grabbing something while working at such heights. If a worker falls off an aerial lift, they may plunge into hard ground below — causing severe injuries if they land on their head or neck area. Fall arrest systems keep workers safe by stopping them after they’ve fallen only a few feet so they can climb back onto their platform safely.
Don’t tie off to objects that could fail while you are tied off
If you are working at heights, there are some dos and don’ts that you need to remember.
Don’t tie off to objects that could fail while you are tied off. If a load is not supported by the structure, it is not safe to tie off to the load.
Do use a fall protection system (lanyard, anchorage or both) when working at heights.
Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces or earrings while working at heights. Loose clothing can catch on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard; jewelry can get caught on equipment and cause injury.
Do inspect all lanyards before use for defects such as cuts, wear spots and knots that may weaken the lanyard; discard them if they are defective.
Don’t put yourself in danger – go through heights training
Before you start working at heights, make sure you have gone through the right working at heights training. You can learn the basics of working at heights by taking a course or reading books on this subject. If there is no such training available where you live, then ask your supervisor to send you for training. It is better to be safe than sorry!
When working at heights, it is also important to use the right equipment for your safety as well as for your co-workers’ safety. Make sure you know how to use all types of tools before starting work from any height. It may also be necessary in some cases that only one person can work from each level, so make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are when it comes to equipment and tools required for each job.
Wear closed-toe shoes
Do: Wear closed-toe shoes.
Wear closed-toe shoes that provide ankle support, especially if you’re climbing a ladder or working on a roof. Open-toed shoes can slip off easily and expose your toes to danger — especially if you’re falling or being pulled off balance by a co-worker.
Don’t: Wear sandals or flip flops.
Sandals can make it difficult for you to maintain your footing, especially on slippery surfaces such as wet concrete or ice. Flip flops also aren’t suitable footwear for climbing ladders or walking across scaffolding because they provide little traction — and they’re not designed for any kind of work at heights in the first place!
If you’re going to work at heights, it’s important to take the proper precautions. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when working at heights, but if you follow these dos and don’ts, then hopefully your job will be safer and more enjoyable!