The term “working at height” refers to any work where a person could injure themselves or possibly fall from a certain height, be it a ladder, roof, or scaffolding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all work done at a height of four feet or higher requires a fall protection policy to be in place. Construction workers who scale high buildings with scaffolding and a harness are at even more risk of death, due to the astronomical heights in which they sometimes have to operate.
Read further to find out what your business needs to know and what considerations must be taken when employees are “working at height”.
Use the Proper Equipment
Depending on the type of work being done will determine whether construction harnesses, a ladder, lift, or scaffold is more necessary. This decision must be made by taking multiple factors into account, including understanding fall protection, using railings, and whether an anchor point would be beneficial. An anchor point is only deemed acceptable if it can handle more than 5,000 pounds, and if the device has been approved and designed by a certified engineer. These solutions require complex calculations to be made based on load-bearing and height in question.
Use a Safe and Effective Personal Fall Arrest System, (PFAS)
Items categorized under PFAS would refer to the full-body harness and personal safety equipment that workers will be required to wear. These suits mustalso be checked regularly to ensure that the equipment is still safe for workers to use. This question can be answered by understanding your workers’ needs. Does the work require welding to be done at great heights? If so, you may want to invest in a heat-protected full-body harness that also has Kevlar stitched in. The PFAS also includes lanyards that work on a deceleration device to manage the speed at which workers can be lifted and dropped down. It is also vitally important that the lifeline of the lanyard is not too long, and that an employee won’t fall too far down without the lanyard kicking in as part of the fall arrest mechanism.
Responsibility to Employees Safety
There are a few key factors that employers have to manage and consider when working at height and some that employees have to manage, too. Employers should always take the height of the job into consideration when accepting jobs. Any jobs that are deemed too dangerous should not be attempted. Ensure that the workers have been properly trained for working with heights and that all the jobs are properly supervised, planned, and conducted. Weather conditions must be checked prior to any job, as this could affect the safety of the employees.
In the end, the workers’ safety is more important and should be the focal point for construction companies that want to work at heights. Regular risk assessments must be carried out as well as following state defined safety regulations at all times.