When undertaking any construction, renovation or building project that requires you or your team to work at height, minimising the risks from falls is of utmost importance. Whether you are working on a roof or simply high up on a ladder make sure you have the precautions in place to minimise the risk from a fall.
1.) Scan the area and try to foresee any potential fall point
The best way to prevent falls is to seriously consider the possibility of them and have a plan in place for dealing with it.
During your fall safety scan of the risk area, make sure you take into consideration not just the opportunities to fall, but also the distance of the fall and the methods by which you will reach someone who has fallen. Remember that workers should not fall more than six feet (in the event of using fall arrest equipment), and make sure you have considered the availability of potential rescue points before you choose your fall safety equipment.
2.) Train your team
There is no point in considering the safety and strategy of your work area if this is not communicated to your teams. If they are using fall arrest equipment, it is important that they know how to wear it and how to check it as they will need to check fall arrest equipment daily for any faults or damages. Clearly elect the members of the team responsible for fall rescue and maintenance.
When using fall arrest equipment especially, it is important that your team know how to reduce pressure from dangling on a harness.
3.) Invest in the right equipment
Keeping an excellent safety record will increase business and attract better workers, so do not be tempted to short cut on your fall arrest equipment. Renting instead of buying your fall safety equipment can be rented to save costs whilst maintaining quality. Talking to your supplier or rental equipment provider about your needs – they may be able to give you valuable advice and cut your costs by recommending solutions that you may not have thought of.
4.) Use fall protection and fall arrest together
No matter how unlikely a fall is, it is important that you do everything you can to keep the area safe. Even if you have erected scaffolding, put up temporary walkways and trained your team it is highly likely that you will be working through wind, rain, frost and all types of hazardous weather conditions. No matter how well you have planned your fall prevention strategy, it is important that height workers are safely attached to appropriate fall arrest equipment just in case.
There are different types of fall arrest equipment available for purchase and hire, so assess carefully how much movement and freedom you need and speak to your supplier about the types of fall arrest equipment that is available to you. If the fall arrest equipment you need is too expensive, hire from reputable supplier instead.
5.) Have a rescue plan ready
Decide early who, what and how you will reach fallen workers, and the routes to the nearest emergency centre.
Ben is a renovations expert and currently works for a tool hire company. He loves to renovate rooms and is often found up a ladder!