Selecting suitable working at height solutions to meet the new working conditions
Jul 9, 2020
As businesses begin to re-open following the ease of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, it is important that health and safety professionals are taking extra precautions when carrying out risk assessments to ensure employees can adhere to Government guidelines. Stephanie Bradley, BoSS® Product Manager at WernerCo, discusses the different working at height equipment available that meets the new working conditions on site.
As health and safety professionals return to work and get back to a more regular maintenance schedule, many are faced with the challenge of finding alternative solutions that allow their workforce to carry out jobs whilst adhering to the new guidelines introduced as a result of Covid-19.
One particular area that throws up new challenges is working at height as often this requires employees to work together in close contact. To help with this, PASMA, the international not-for-profit association for the mobile access tower industry, has published new guidance that provides a comprehensive overview of the steps that should be followed in order to safeguard everyone using access towers when working at height. This includes new hygiene procedures, such as regular and thorough disinfection of towers in-between use, to the use of face coverings and gloves and wider site cleaning measures being implemented.
One of the most significant changes on-site set out by UK Government, and highlighted in the PASMA guidance, is the importance of social distancing and ensuring that people stay 2m apart when working. Whereas once it would have been possible to have a number of riggers working together in order to construct complex towers, under the new guidelines, health and safety professionals are more likely to find that this is no longer possible, especially on larger-scale jobs.
With this in mind, single person towers, such as the BoSS SOLO700 access tower, are going to become an essential piece of equipment for anyone working at height. Helping to encourage social distancing in the work place, single person towers are designed to be quick and easy to assemble and dismantle by just one person, unlike most standard towers, which require two people.
When looking for suitable access solutions, users should also consider whether it is easy to transport when working alone. For instance, the BoSS SOLO700 access tower base unit forms a trolley to simplify transportation.
In instances where a single person tower is not suitable, such as when a cantilever tower or linked end tower is required, employers should carefully consider whether it is imminently essential to carry out the job and if so, what other precautions can be taken to safeguard employees. These include, for example, limiting the number of people using an access tower to only those essential, ensuring that all tower users are utilising the correct PPE and carrying out thorough cleaning on all components that are frequently touched. Additionally, alternative working at height solutions such as micro-scissor lifts should be considered. For instance, the BoSS X3X micro-scissor lift can be used by one person and is easy to manoeuvre around indoors by a single individual thanks to its compact design and heavy-duty castors.
Working at height is still one of the most dangerous workplace activities, with the recent HSE 'Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2020' report citing it as the most common cause of fatalities. Taking this and the new Covid-19 measures into consideration, employers have more responsibility than ever to provide their workforce with a safe working environment. By taking time to review the different working at height solutions available that can help promote social distancing in the workplace, employers can foster a positive and safe working environment whilst also ensuring that the list of maintenance jobs can be carried out in a timely and effective manner.
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T: 0121 454 9707
E: [email protected]
T: 0121 454 9707