Phone

0800 66 77 44

 

Address

  • 128 Otepuni Ave, Invercargill
  • Cromwell, Arrowtown, Wanaka and Dunedin by arrangement
  • In our 24th year of providing quality training.

Working at heights presents inherent risks that demand diligent safety measures to protect workers from accidents and injuries. Whether it’s construction, maintenance, or any task involving elevated workspaces, prioritising safety is paramount.

In this blog, we will explore four crucial safety measures that should be implemented to create a secure workplace at heights.

Risk Assessment, Planning, and Competence

When it comes to working at heights, a comprehensive risk assessment, careful planning, and ensuring the competence of workers are vital steps in creating a safe environment. Conducting a thorough risk assessment involves identifying potential hazards and evaluating the work area for any risks that could jeopardise the well-being of workers. This assessment should take into account factors such as unstable surfaces, nearby power lines, and adverse weather conditions.

Once the risks have been identified, a detailed plan should be developed to address them. This plan should outline the safety procedures to be followed, equipment requirements, and communication protocols. It should also consider any relevant regulations and industry standards to ensure compliance.

Equally important is providing workers with the necessary training and competence assessment. Organisations should invest in proper Working At Heights training programs to equip workers with the knowledge and skills required to perform tasks safely at elevated workspaces. Regular competency assessments should be conducted to evaluate workers’ abilities and ensure they are adequately trained and experienced for the tasks assigned.

Additionally, organisations should consider other relevant training programs such as Dangerous Goods Renewal, depending on the nature of the work being carried out at heights. By prioritising risk assessment, planning, and competence, organisations can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries while working at heights, fostering a culture of safety and well-being among their workforce.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a critical aspect of ensuring the safety of workers when performing tasks at heights. Here are elaborations on the various types of PPE commonly used:

Fall protection

When working at heights, the risk of falling is a significant concern. Appropriate fall protection equipment, such as safety harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines, must be worn. Safety harnesses distribute the impact of a fall across the body, preventing serious injuries. Lanyards and lifelines are attached to secure anchor points, allowing workers to move safely while minimising the risk of a fall.

Head protection

Falling objects pose a substantial hazard when working at heights. Wearing a hard hat is crucial to protect the head from potential impacts. Hard hats are designed to absorb and deflect the force of falling objects, preventing head injuries. They also provide insulation against electric shocks and protect against overhead protrusions.

Footwear

Proper footwear plays a crucial role in maintaining stability and preventing slips, trips, and falls. Workers should wear sturdy, slip-resistant shoes or boots with good ankle support. These shoes provide traction on various surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping and ensuring a firm grip while working at heights.

Eye and ear protection

When working at heights, there may be potential hazards such as airborne debris or excessive noise. Wearing safety glasses or goggles shields the eyes from dust, debris, and foreign objects. They provide a barrier of protection against eye injuries. Additionally, workers should wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, in loud environments to prevent hearing damage caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of noise.

Equipment and Tools, Inspections, and Maintenance

Proper maintenance and inspection of equipment and tools used for working at heights are crucial for ensuring their safe and effective operation. Here’s a closer look at the importance of equipment inspections and adherence to manufacturer guidelines:

Regular inspections

Equipment used for working at heights, such as ladders, scaffolding, harnesses, and lifelines, should undergo regular inspections. These inspections help identify any signs of wear and tear, damage, or malfunction that could compromise their integrity and safety. Inspections should be performed by competent individuals who are trained to identify potential issues. Any defective or damaged equipment should be promptly repaired or replaced.

Maintenance

Following manufacturer guidelines for equipment maintenance is essential to keep it in optimal working condition. Regular maintenance activities may include lubrication, cleaning, adjustment of components, and any other tasks specified by the manufacturer. By conducting routine maintenance, organisations can address minor issues before they become major safety concerns and ensure that equipment functions properly when needed.

Proper use

It is crucial to adhere to manufacturer guidelines for the correct use of equipment and tools. This includes understanding weight limits, load capacities, and any specific instructions for assembly or operation. Proper use ensures that equipment functions as intended and reduces the risk of accidents or failures during work at heights.

Storage and transportation

Equipment should be stored in a designated area that protects it from damage and exposure to adverse environmental conditions. It is important to follow manufacturer guidelines for storage to prevent deterioration and ensure that equipment is readily accessible when needed. During transportation, equipment should be secured and protected to prevent any potential damage that could compromise its safety or functionality.

Communication, Emergency Procedures, and Environmental Factors

Communication, emergency procedures, and consideration of environmental factors are critical elements in maintaining safety when working at heights. Let’s explore each aspect in more detail:

Establishing effective communication methods

Clear and efficient communication between workers at heights and ground personnel is crucial for maintaining a safe working environment. Utilise communication tools such as two-way radios, hand signals, or designated signalmen to relay instructions, updates, and emergency information. Effective communication ensures that workers are informed about potential hazards, safety protocols, and any changes in the work environment.

Developing and communicating emergency procedures

In the event of an emergency, having well-defined and communicated emergency procedures is vital. Develop comprehensive plans that outline the steps to be taken in various emergency scenarios, such as falls, equipment failures, or adverse weather conditions. These plans should include procedures for evacuation, first aid, and rescue operations. Ensure that all workers are familiar with these procedures through regular training sessions, including those related to Working At Heights training and Dangerous Goods Renewal, if applicable.

Considering environmental factors

Environmental factors play a significant role in working safely at heights. Weather conditions, such as high winds, rain, or icy surfaces, can increase the risk of accidents. It is crucial to regularly monitor weather forecasts and avoid working at heights during hazardous conditions. Adequate lighting should also be provided to ensure good visibility and enable workers to identify potential hazards.

Proper Training and Competence

Proper training and competence are integral to ensuring safety when working at heights. Providing comprehensive training programs on working at heights, including safe practices, equipment usage, and emergency procedures, is crucial.

Regular competence assessments should be conducted to evaluate workers’ skills and knowledge. By investing in training and competency assessments, organisations equip their workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform tasks safely at elevated workspaces.

This fosters a culture of safety, reduces the risk of accidents, and promotes the well-being of workers in height-related work environments.

Conclusion

Prioritising safety when working at heights is of utmost importance. By implementing proper training and competence assessments, organisations can empower their workers with the necessary skills and knowledge to mitigate risks and ensure a secure working environment. If you or your team are involved in tasks at heights, it is crucial to stay updated and receive specialised training.

Take the next step towards safety excellence by signing up for the Working At Heights course at RoadTrain.nz. Invest in your safety and the well-being of your team today. Together, let’s create a culture of safety and prevent accidents in height-related workspaces.