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As per research, over $52 million was paid out in compensation to workers injured in falls on the job in 2015. In New Zealand’s construction industry, falls account for the lion’s share of fatal accidents, and even those that don’t end in a fatality can have far-reaching, life-altering effects on the injured employee and place a significant financial burden on the company.

In this blog post, we have compiled a list of the top 5 safety tips for any business where the job requirements entail working at heights to help both employers and employees avoid the danger of a fall injury in the workplace.

Top 5 Safety tips for working at heights

1. Use the Proper PPE

Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) are mandatory for all workers who must perform their duties from elevated platforms. Employers must supply workers with tools suitable for the tasks at hand. Different PFASs have different properties.

There is sometimes a substantial gap in price for such systems. However, the price tag boost isn’t necessarily because of the name brand. Some PFAS are constructed from higher-quality materials to last longer, bear more weight, and offer protection from fire and electricity. Different systems may use different techniques for fall prevention.

Make sure you are receiving the proper PFAS to match the working conditions and defend against the hazards that are present, such as fireproof materials, an arc-safe design, or extra D-rings, by doing some research and making sure you are getting the right PFAS for the task.

When it comes to PFAS, quality always trumps cost, so never settle for second best.

2. Inspect Your PPE

Even though the use of a Personal Fall Arrest System is supposed to prevent any and all falls, it’s not safe to presume that this will always be the case. Before an employee can put on their personal protective equipment (PPE) and head up to the high area where they are supposed to be working, occupational health and safety rules demand that all of the PPE that is used for working at heights be examined and given the green light for use.

With that being said, always perform a thorough inspection of the harnesses and lanyards to determine whether or not the system could be compromised by the wear and tear. Check that the D-rings are still working and have not rusted, and double check to see if all of the straps and clasps are securely fastened. Before each and every use, this needs to be inspected. The inspection needs to be really detailed. This little check before starting work might end up saving someone’s life.

3. Complete a working at Heights Course in NZ

All employees who will be working at heights are required to complete the Working at Heights Certification course in NZ and ensure that their necessary licences are valid in order to reduce the risk of sustaining an injury while on the job. It is essential that all workers who undertake work at heights are aware of the dangers that are associated with the activity that they are undertaking.

Additionally, all workers must be clear about how to use the fall protective gear that they’ll be using on the job. If their existing equipment becomes obsolete or they are deemed to be insufficiently skilled with it, they will need to undergo a working at height course in NZ.

4.  Take Extra Care Around Wet or Slippery Areas

Always check the surfaces that your employees will be working on to ensure that they are solid and won’t crack or break under someone’s weight. Even if you use a PFAS, it is still possible for workers to experience injuries in case that the platform they’re working on gives way under their combined weight. If the working platform cannot be maintained in a steady position, it will need to be replaced before any further work can be done.

Additionally, slippery surfaces on scaffolding or elevated platforms need to be taken into account. The use of a PFAS does not take away the risk of injury to workers from slipping or falling on an elevated platform, just as it does not eliminate the risk of injury from slipping and falling on an unstable surface.

Before sending workers up onto the platform, check to see that every person who will be working at heights is wearing appropriate footwear for the job and that steps have been taken to decrease the amount of slipping and sliding that will occur on the platform.

5. Carry out Risk Assessments on a Regular Basis

Both the employer and the employee have a duty to remain constantly aware of the dangers and threats that are connected to the work that is being carried out.

As a project progresses, the potential dangers that the project poses may also evolve. By conducting risk assessments on a regular basis, new hazards can be recognised and addressed, and existing hazards can be reevaluated to verify that the appropriate steps are being taken to minimise, prevent, or eliminate any risks.

ROADTRAIN’s Working At Heights Course Program in NZ

ROADTRAIN’s Working at Heights course program in NZ provides a review of the skills necessary to locate working at heights dangers as well as fall hazards in the workplace. Only individuals who have finished the unit standards for Working at Heights can participate in this activity.

This training not only teaches the necessary academic information but also the necessary practical knowledge, in addition to raising awareness of height-specific hazards. It educates participants on the dangers of working at heights, the requirements for setting up the work area, and the impact that suitable fall arrest systems have on increasing workplace safety.

This course was designed from the ground up to incorporate the NZQA unit standards into its curriculum.

Contact us today if you want to find out how ROADTRAIN’s Working At Heights course in NZ can help you with a safe and proactive programme.