Key safety guidelines when working at height
Feb 17, 2022
The need for suitable safety equipment, training and height safety knowledge remains paramount in order to avoid serious injury when working at height. Gurjeev Bola, Product Manager for WernerCo, discusses the key safety guidelines for tradesmen to be aware of, whilst highlighting the importance of best practice, inspections and choosing high-quality products that tradesmen can rely on.
Falls from height remains one of the highest causes of fatalities within the workplace, The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported an 84% increase in the number of working at height incidents within the first quarter of 2021, proving cause for concern.
Whether those working at height are hiring or buying access equipment, users need to be aware of best practices and key safety guidelines. Although manufacturers are required to supply industry tested and approved products, there is a responsibility of the user to be trained and aware of working at height safety as well as competent in carrying out environment inspections before carrying out any work.
Check your equipment and environment
Following on from COVID-19 where the world slowed down and jobs had to be postponed, tradesmen have been experiencing a high level of demand from customers for quite some time, with some being fully booked for months in advance. With an increase in jobs and potential tighter turnarounds on projects, it’s essential that equipment is up to standard and properly checked before every use.
Safety-critical inspections are an important and necessary part of the working at height process. Before using any access equipment, it must be extensively checked and formal procedures should be in place to ensure that these inspections are carried out correctly by users, following the specific guidance outlined in the manufacturer’s instruction manual. This is recommended to take place every time access equipment is to be used or when working in a new environment.
The user of the access equipment is responsible for these regular inspections before use, and it's critical that customers choose a trustworthy provider where items are high quality, tested to industry standards, and subjected to regulatory inspections before being made available for hire or purchase. Pre-use checks shouldn't just cover the equipment itself - checking the safety of the working environment is also a factor, and should be conducted each time working at height occurs.
Choose the correct product for the job
Choosing the right access equipment can play a vital role in helping to improve safety on-site and reduce the number of accidents that could occur when working at height. It is important to consider such things as load capacity, including the weight of the tools and materials being used to carry out the job, and the time spent working at height.
When working at height for longer periods of time, for example over 30 minutes as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), work at height products such as a work platform or an access tower is going to be the best option as a safe solution to carrying out the job, and there are a wide variety of solutions to choose from.
BoSS, the UKs leading access tower brand provides innovative products to the highest quality and safety standards. From low-level work platforms to a full range of mobile access towers, it offers the largest range of tower accessories available, offering professionals a range of work at height solutions for any situation.
In order to choose the most suitable solution, professionals must closely consider the requirements of the job, including working height, whether they’re working indoors or outdoors, the need for mobility and any special requirements such as working around obstacles or over stairs. To save professionals valuable time, WernerCo developed the BoSS Tower Selector online guide. It helps users identify the most suitable access tower in just five easy steps.
WernerCo has a range of BoSS products available to buy or hire through registered stockists, trade outlets and online partners, offering those looking to work at height safe and durable access solutions as well as a professional guide on what product would suit the application best.
Training is always recommended for professionals involved in assembling, dismantling, moving, and inspecting mobile access towers. This gives those working at height confidence in the safe use of mobile access towers and low-level access equipment, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. WernerCo is a PASMA-approved training member that offers industry-standard training on access equipment safety.
If the industry as a whole can take more proactive safety measures, the number of accidents and fatal injuries reported each year will fall, making the workplace safer for those working at height.
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