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Ensuring Safety When Working at Heights

When it comes to construction work, one of the most common risks is falling from a height. Employers must prioritise the safety of their workers by protecting them from this risk, no matter how high or low they are working. This may include utilising rope access services and safety netting and complying to safety standards to provide a safe working environment. By following some key safety measures, falls from heights are entirely preventable.

Construction Safety Management

To help ensure the safety of workers, employers can use a range of fall-prevention devices such as temporary work platforms, guardrails, scaffolding, or work-positioning systems like a restraint system or industrial rope access. If none of these options are feasible, a fall arrest system should be used, which may include industrial safety netting, catch platforms, or a harness-based fall-arrest equipment used with lifelines or individual anchors.

Complete a Safe Work Method Statement

It is essential that employers complete a safe work method statement (SWMS) for work where a person could fall more than 2 meters. This statement helps employers identify potential risks and hazards and establish control measures to ensure the safety of all workers.

Work Safely on Ladders

When it comes to working on ladders, A-frame ladders, and extension ladders, employers should make sure that the ladders are rated for industrial use, are well-maintained, and free of obvious visual defects. They should ensure that the ground is solid and level, and the ladder all the locking devices on the ladder are secured. Workers should always have both feet and one other point of contact on the ladder, and they should never overreach.

Work Safely on Roofs

Working on roofs can be particularly dangerous, with risks including falling off the edge or through fragile roof materials. Employers can mitigate these risks by using physical barriers such as temporary edge protection or guardrails on roof edges, skylight covers, crawl boards, or physically marked exclusion zones for fragile surfaces. Employers should ensure that a risk assessment is conducted before work begins, and that workers are trained in fall prevention systems before use.

Work Safely around Voids and Penetrations

Falls through voids and penetrations are another common cause of injury in construction. To prevent falls, employers should ensure that all voids and penetrations have a clearly marked cover that is secured so it can’t be dislodged. If the void or penetration is large or needed for temporary access, employers can put in guardrails, and if using the void or penetration to access another level, they should consider using temporary stairs or making sure the ladder extends 1 meter past the landing point.

Working Safely on Scaffolds

When working on scaffolds, employers should visually check them from the ground before use to ensure that they are complete and safe. Tradies who don’t hold a scaffold license must not erect, alter, or dismantle a scaffold where the risk of a person or object falling is more than 4 meters.
In conclusion, commercial property maintenance services must prioritise the safety of workers to prevent falls from heights. Employers should use a range of fall-prevention devices, complete a safe work method statement, ensure that ladders are well-maintained and free of obvious visual defects, and take adequate measures when working on roofs, around voids and penetrations, and on scaffolds. With the right precautions in place, workers can work safely at any height.
Contact us to see how we can assist with working at heights safely.

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