What do forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction jobs all have in common? Each of those sectors regularly reports injuries from falls and height-related accidents. The construction industry generally reports more incidents than the other sectors, but each one experiences workplace-related injuries as a result of working at heights.
How can you minimize height-related injuries? By incorporating height safety training. Often offered as a 1 day or a 2 day training course, a good height safety training course will help prevent injuries and minimize risk in difficult situations. This article will cover just a few points to include in your company’s safety training and even a few more points which you can safely leave out.
Key points to remember when working at heights
Eliminate or minimize unnecessary risks and conduct a risk assessment
One of the first steps prior to conducting work at heights, is simply to avoid it whenever possible by looking at other methods of access or work. Now, that’s not possible for many jobs, but it’s always worth considering – could I do this job another way? Is it possible to avoid putting myself or a coworker in a position where a fall could injure us?
The best way to manage risk is to attempt to identify the risks before commencing the work, and conduct a risk assessment with all of the staff involved, and put in place the appropriate control measures. Consider the work required, the hazards involved, and appropriate control measures to make the work safe.
Identify safe access
A large part of the risk involved in working at heights comes with gaining access to the worksite – climbing up a roof, mounting a ladder etc. A good safety training program will emphasize the need to identify exactly how to gain access and the safest way to do so. Identifying the safe access points, and utilising appropriate equipment will assist you.
Inspect height safety equipment
Damaged or old ladders; faulty powered lifts; frayed or torn safety harnesses. You must thoroughly inspect your height safety equipment before using it in any situation. Follow your trainers advice and the manufacturers instructions.
Work within your limits
Even for trained professionals, there’s that tendency to try to do a little too much. When you’re on the ground, that tendency might not result in an injury, but if it causes a fall even from a short ladder, or whilst you are wearing a height safety harness, the consequences could be serious. A large part of a good height safety training course will focus on identifying and managing the risks, being conscious of your limits, and staying within them, which are all key components to working safely at heights.
Be environment aware
Such a wide range of circumstances requires working from height training that is adaptable to different industries and different situations. The work environment can change from other work performed nearby, the weather, and the equipment available. If the environment changes, stop work and revisit your risk assessment.
Most height safety courses should be customized based on the specific environment that the workers will be exposed to. If you are looking to complete height safety training for your employees, check out our courses here.
Above all else, remember to keep a safe mindset, being aware of your environment and always conscious of the risks. Seek professional advice and get training from someone knowledgeable of the risks your particular industry brings. Be safe!
Holly Shaw, Author