Working at height continues to be one of the main causes of major injuries and fatalities. Common incidents include falls through fragile surfaces and falls from ladders. Working at height includes work in any location where a person could fall a distance and incur an injury. Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know about working at height:
What Employees Need to Know About Working at Height
You may already know that it’s an employer’s responsibility to keep you safe at work, however, it’s also important for employees to take responsibility for their own safety too. Here are some things employees should remember when working at height:
- Employees should ask for help when they need it
- If you don’t have the correct training for the job being completed, then you should tell your supervisor
- Don’t cut corners – although cutting corners might save time, not following the correct safety procedures could result in serious injury.
- Make sure you’re using the correct safety equipment
- If you’re asked to complete a job that you feel is unsafe or is against the training you’ve been given, you have the right to refuse the work. You should report the incident to OSHA.
- Make sure you’re fit for work – don’t work at height when you’re tired, if you’ve had a drink, or taken any medication that could affect your balance or decision-making skills.
What Employers Need to Know About Working at Height
It is an employer’s responsibility to keep employees safe at work. If you employ people who work at height, then here are some things you need to know:
- Employers are responsible for making sure that the individuals who are working at height are competent to perform the task. They need to ensure that their employees have been provided with health and safety training for the job they’re doing. If the training hasn’t been completed, then employees should be supervised by a fully trained individual.
- Work should not be completed at height or on fragile surfaces unless it is unavoidable.
- Businesses should provide their employees with the correct work and safety equipment – consider purchasing items such as lanyards, safety harnesses, and fall arrest systems for your employees.
- Employers need to inspect fall protection equipment and work surfaces before work commences. This ensures that everything is in good repair and working correctly.
- You need to ensure that all ladders are fixed to the ground or securely placed to prevent them from falling.
How Can Employers Comply with Regulations?
Employers who are in control of any work at height activity need to ensure the work taking place has been carefully planned. They also need to supervise the work and ensure it’s completed by competent individuals. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height.
Employers should start by assessing the risks. Think about:
- The height of the task
- How long and how often the task will be completed
- The condition of the surface being worked on
Once you’ve completed a risk assessment, you’ll be able to put a plan in place to keep your employees safe.
There are several industries in which a normal day at work may involve working at height, such as window cleaning, electrical repair, construction, and painting. Whenever an individual is working at height, there is a possibility that they may fall and injure themselves. Employers and employees need to work together to try and prevent accidents from occurring.