Working at Height: What Safety Managers Need To Know

Working at Heights Overview

There are many cases in which some workers may be required to render jobs in places that are several feet from the ground. They can be a 40-feet building that is being constructed or on top of a ship.

Working At Height (WAH) – as it is called – is actually a type of job in which a fall is likely to happen to these workers causing personal injuries such as body harm or even death. This could be

1. From a flat roof
2. Elevated platforms
3. On a ladder
4. A weak surface
5. Skylight
6. From the edge
7. Area near an opening in a floor or hole in the ground

Falls continue one of the leading causes of deaths and injuries in the workplace. The new OSHA report shows that falls from height remains the leading workplace fatality in 2017 and 2018. Of the 1623 occupational deaths according to report, 566 were caused by falls. The OSHA report also says that most of the violations that are frequently cited often come from fall protection. Which means that this type of occupational accident should be really taken seriously. The hazards could eventually shorten the life of the person as this damage can affect the vital organs and the entire body. The dangers of falling from any of these platforms have never been properly managed in order to ensure the overall safety of workers.

Ways To Prevent Fall-Related Accidents

In situations like this, it is important to establish a strictly implemented fall protection program enabling the company and the safety managers to set proper guidelines for protecting their workers from these dangers. Proper training on how to use the fall protection equipment should be conducted on a regular basis.

Knowledge of Safety Guidelines. Companies and safety managers are responsible for providing a safe work environment for everyone. Their role is to enforce standards as well as training, education and support. Workers after all have the right to be in a condition that do not pose potentially serious risks on their health and life.

What can safety managers do to minimise falls? OSHA requires employers to

β€’ Provide working conditions that are danger-free
β€’ Equip and educate workers about hazards in a language they can comprehend
β€’ Keep floors clean and in dry condition
β€’ Choose the required PPE at no cost

With regard to elevation, OSHA set the following standards:
β€’ 5 feet for shipyards
β€’ 6 feet for construction industries
β€’ 8 feet for long shoring operations
β€’ 4 feet for general industries

In addition, they must

β€’ Provide guard rails and toe-boards around elevated open-sided platform, floor or runway in case a worker might accidentally fall onto a machine
β€’ Protect every hole into which people might accidentally walk on by using a railing or toe-board or a floor cover)

Safety Equipment. A fall protection program must be required in every elevated place. This includes the use of

β€’ Safety harnesses with lanyards
β€’ Positioning and Restrain lanyard
β€’ Self-retracting lifelines
β€’ Horizontal and vertical lifelines
β€’ Safety nets
β€’ Stair railings
β€’ Handrails

For a comprehensive list of fall protection equipment, visit this page.

The best way to appreciate the dynamics of these PPE products work is to know the key components, or the ABCs of fall protection. These are:

β€’ Anchorage devices
β€’ Body support or popularly known as full body harness
β€’ Connecting devices

The anchorage device carries the greatest force during a fall as it joins the connecting device (i.e. shock absorbing lanyard, self-retracting lifeline, fall limiter or rope grab) to the anchorage, commonly referred to as the β€œtie-off point,” which can be a scaffold, an i-beam, or any other structural point. The connecting device is then latched on to the body support or safety harness, which is used to hold a worker during and after the fall. Generally the device serves as an intermediate attachment that connects the harness to the anchorage device.

One needs to remember that without one of these components, the entire protection system will not work. It has been designed to be as safe and simple as possible to effectively reduce putting workers from height at risk.

Avoid Falls Today

Working from height has never been an isolated case when it comes to fatalities because it carries with some inherent hazards. It is time for companies to be compliance-driven and implement stricter workplace policies to instill in every worker the importance of having a positive safety behaviour. Furthermore, staff must be required to undergo training on safety and must be required to use the right fall protection PPE every time in the field.

Are you looking for fall protection equipment? Contact any of the following:

Singapore
Phone: +65 6748 9773
E-mail: sales@macrovista.com

Philippines
Phone: +632 633 9578
E-mail: salesph@macrovista.com