Sales ends today | Keep your skills on the leading edge. Courses from £89.99 £120.00 60% off

Top 10 Essential Safety Practices for Working at Heights Environment

Working at height refers to any task that involves working in a place where a person could fall from a distance, which could result in injury if safety measures are not taken. Unfortunately, falls from heights are still the leading cause of workplace fatalities and are among the primary reasons for significant and life-altering injuries. It is imperative that whether you work at height regularly or only occasionally, safety should always be a top priority. This blog will dive deep into what working at heights entails, its regulations, and the ten most important safety tips to abide by.

What Is Working at Height?

If you work in a place where you could fall and get hurt, that’s called working at height. This includes working above the ground or on a surface that could break or fall through an opening. It doesn’t include slipping or tripping or walking up and down stairs. In the UK, working at height is a major cause of workplace accidents. 

What Are The Working at Height Regulations?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 have been put in place to prevent injuries that can occur when people fall from a height. These regulations apply to all employers and contractors who hire others to work at height. Employers are responsible for ensuring that:

All work that involves activities at a height should be carefully planned and organised. The individuals involved in such activities must be qualified and trained to perform the tasks safely. The risks associated with working at height should be assessed, and the appropriate equipment should be selected and used accordingly. The risks of working on or near fragile surfaces should also be managed properly. The equipment used for work at height must be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that it is in good working condition and safe for use.

Employees need to know that they have legal responsibilities to take care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions. They must also cooperate with their employer to meet health and safety requirements.

Ten Safety Tips For Working At Heights

1. Adequate Training

To ensure a safe work environment, the first step towards mitigating risks is to ensure that all employees are fully trained. According to Regulations 5 and 6(5)(b) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005, it is mandatory to ensure that everyone involved in the work is competent and trained (or supervised by a competent person). This includes organising, planning, supervising, and maintaining equipment. In situations where other precautions do not entirely eliminate the risk of a fall, training those working at height is crucial to avoid falling and minimise injury to themselves should they fall. Providing them with adequate training to ensure their safety while working at heights is essential.

2. Risk Assessment

Employers must ensure that their employees are trained to work at heights safely, as required by The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It is a legal obligation to conduct a risk assessment, discuss the risks involved and implement preventive measures. If a company has more than five employees, it must record this risk assessment and make it available for inspection.

3. Working at Heights PPE

Use Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), such as harnesses and lanyards, to ensure safety. Research should be conducted to find the most appropriate and suitable equipment.

4. Inspect your PPE

Before each use, it is essential to check that the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in place. This step is critical for worker safety. All workers should be aware of what they should check, what defaults to look for and what steps to take in case of a problem.

5. Working at Heights Equipment

Choosing the right equipment for the job is important when working at a height. Consider what you need for the task before starting work, whether it’s a scaffold, lift, or ladder. 

6. Ladder Safety

According to the law, ladders can be used for low-risk and short-duration work at height, but only after a risk assessment. You should not decide to use a ladder based solely on the task’s duration. Assess the risks and tasks before deciding on the equipment to use. When using a ladder, ensure it’s stable and level and placed in a practical location. Equipment isn’t one-size-fits-all, so choose what’s best for the job.

7. Lift Safety

When operating a lift attached to an engineered anchor point, it is important to ensure that you are correctly “tied off” and that your lanyard is the correct length for the height you are working at. It’s worth noting that scissor lifts operate slightly differently as there is no regulatory requirement to be “tied off”, but your employer or site manager may still require you to do so for additional safety. Always remember that the gate or chain on a lift should be closed and that both feet should be planted firmly in the centre of the platform.

8. View documentation

It is advisable to conduct regular reviews to ensure that your work practices are updated and relevant to your current projects. It is crucial that paperwork is revised whenever there is a change in personnel or work at height operations, new team members or management, or if an accident or injury occurs. This will help you to maintain high safety standards and keep everyone safe while working at height.

9. Use railing and handrails

Railings are the easiest and most recommended way to keep workers safe while working at height. They don’t require extra training or equipment, making them very convenient. According to the Work at Height Regulations 2005, handrails must have a minimum height of 950mm for construction work. Any gap between the top and intermediate rail must not exceed 470mm. 

10. Check weather conditions

When working at height, monitoring the weather is important, especially if thunderstorms, high winds, or icy conditions are forecasted. Adverse weather conditions can increase the risk of injuries, so closely monitoring the weather is essential. If there’s any doubt, it’s best to pause work until the weather improves to minimise the risk of accidents.

Share :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *