Falls from height is one of the major causes of personal injury at a workplace. According to the HSE, over 37,000 cases of workplace injuries in 2013/14 – 2015/16 were due to falls from a height. Scaffolders, painters, decorators, window cleaners are all vulnerable from injuries caused due to falling from a height.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) states that employers must make sure to plan, supervise and use competent workers in order to comply with the regulation. It’s also important to train the employees on correctly using safety harnesses and ensure they use the appropriate PPE before undertaking any work involving heights.
3 Step Rule
Employers could use a simple 3 step rule to reduce injuries resulting from falling from a height.
The first step would be to avoid working from a height if it’s not necessary.
However, if working from height is not avoidable, prevent falls by using existing place of work that is already safe.
Finally, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated.
By using the above 3 step rule, we highlight some of the key factors to consider before working from a height. These are the following:
- Weather Conditions. Avoid working in harsh weather conditions like heavy wind or rain. It can easily affect the safety of employees working from a height
- Inspect. Always check if the surrounding is safe before working from a height and inspect the equipment used are stable & adequate for the job e.g. ladders, step ladders, platforms etc.
- Store. Objects falling can cause injury to people below. It’s important to store away tools if not being used and secure all loose objects.
- Emergency & Rescue. always plan ahead for situations that require emergency assistance and set up evacuation procedures. If working alone, use personal safety alarms with built in “fall alarm system” that will automatically alert someone in the event of a fall from a height.