Common Height Related Hazards and How To Avoid Them


Working at height has become an increasingly common practice for any construction worker. It is a practice that should be avoided unless completely necessary. Still, we know that sometimes this work simply can’t be avoided. Working through any removals, maintenance, or other challenging jobs that require hands-on care are all work tasks that have a heightened risk of serious injury.


Work taking place at a height accounts for more injuries and fatalities than any other work activity on a construction site. Working from a height is common among construction workers and sites, making it inevitable that more accidents will occur during this practice.


This post will discuss the various injuries and accidents that could occur whilst working at a height on a site. We’ll also look at the preventative methods that can be used to prevent these accidents from happening.




What is Defined as “Working From Height”?


Working from a height does not just have to mean you are working on top of a tall building/platform. It can be defined as any height at which you could cause serious injury to yourself or others through a fall or by dropping work materials below you.


You are working at height if you work above the ground floor of a property; or if you could fall from ground level onto someone through an opening in the floor. The severity of falling from a height can be from minor injuries to potential fatalities in the worst cases. Height related hazards are inevitable on certain sites. Here’s how to spot and avoid them.



Risks & How To Avoid Them


1. Training & General Knowledge

When working in high and dangerous areas, training and general knowledge around safe practices are worth their weight in gold! Working at height can be seriously dangerous if the correct safety regulations are not followed and can cause injury or even death to a worker and the people around them.


Gaining valuable working at height training is a good thing for your workers. Still, with the Working at Height regulations (2005) being in place, it is also a legal requirement for everyone to follow on-site.


Following this set of regulations is designed to keep you and other workers safe on your working site. Still, there are never too many extra measures you can take in addition to this to keep everyone on-site safe.


2. Don’t Work From Height

Yes, we know you think this one is entirely unavoidable, but thinking it out could make a difference in preventing serious injury. Work may always seem like it needs to be done up at a height, but weighing whether you can carry out this work on the ground could eliminate some pointless risk from your job. Choosing to not work from a height significantly reduces the risk from specific tasks.


Not all jobs need to be completed at a height, and it can be crucial to know the difference when looking at the requirements of the job you’re doing. Thinking out a process in which the job can be completed while everyone is on the ground eliminates the risk of falling from a height and makes the workplace safer.


3. Don’t Overload Ladders

Ladders are commonplace on working sites, but it is always important to know how much weight is too much for a ladder to take. Ladders pose serious health risks in many different ways. The most obvious cause of injury on a ladder is falling from it, especially when carrying materials between levels.


If materials are weighty, a risk that not many people account for is overloading the ladder and putting it at risk of buckling. Knowing your limits is important for how much weight you can and should carry up a ladder.


It is important to read the weight limits of your ladder to minimise the risk of beaking your ladder and falling, potentially hurting yourself and others on-site.


4. Wearing Correct PPE

Accidents happen on worksites, and not all of them can be accounted for in a risk assessment. When an accident happens, it is a legal requirement to be prepared through the form of correct and appropriate PPE.


Wearing correct PPE like helmets and high-visibility jackets significantly reduces the risk of serious injury in an accident occurring. Not all accidents from working at height can be foreseen, so it is essential to be as well prepared as possible. PPE is a legal requirement, but going the extra mile to ensure all safety measures are in place and are above and beyond what is required by law is just as important.


5. Know Your Workers

Working at height requires a certain amount of skill and knowledge when doing it alone. It should be treated with the utmost seriousness. If a worker does not have much experience working from height or does not feel confident taking on the job, they should not be sent up to do this work whatsoever.


This type of work should be reserved for those well-versed in working from heights and can carry out this work with extreme care and caution. Knowing your worker's skill levels and knowledge of working at heights could significantly reduce the risk of injury and keep your workers happy.


6. Proper Inspection Of Working From Height Equipment

Just as the safety processes are important, one thing that is equally important is inspecting all equipment on-site to make sure all is safe before ascending the scaffold. Safety is paramount on-site and making sure all scaffolding structures are inspected and pass all tests is just as important.


Scaffolding Tags can be used to identify which scaffolds have and haven’t been checked, and are a necessity for keeping avoidable height-related on-site accidents to a minimum. Although they are not a legal requirement to have on-site, they could make the difference between serious injury, and avoiding an accident altogether!



Conclusion

Working at height is sometimes the only way to carry out a job properly. When this is the case, it is best to be as prepared as possible for any possible scenario. Using the tips in this post will help you minimise the risk to your workers when working from height and bring safety to the forefront of a very dangerous task.


If you’d like to find out more about how you could make your workplace safer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our fantastic team. Our team at TagTec is here to help you with all of your workplace safety needs!





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