By Account Manager at Reece Safety, Sonny Brindle.
Working at height is an often-essential part of many contractors’ daily work and is unavoidable for tradespeople such as roofers and builders. It’s important to know how to keep yourself safe and protected whilst working at an elevation in order to carry out projects effectively and safely. When preparing for a project where you’re working at height, whether it’s on a roof or a ladder, make sure you’re taking the correct measures to keep yourself safe.
Below are some safety tips when working at height:
Ensure you are properly trained
It goes without saying that training is essential before undertaking any potentially dangerous tasks or projects, but it’s equally important to complete regular refresher training in order to ensure your team stay up to date with any new regulations which may have come into place, are reminded of safety rules which may have been forgotten over time or simply to ask questions. Training should never be ignored or dismissed, even if you think that you are safe in completing work at height.
Be cautious and sensible
It’s imperative to behave sensibly whilst working at height and ensure you are as safe as you can be in each situation, as there is a chance that you could cause serious injury to yourself or others if you’re behaving negligently whilst working. It is also important to leave the site tidy to keep other workers safe and equipment accounted for. Always return equipment and materials to their correct storage place – use padlocks from Reece Safety to safely store equipment overnight whilst also keeping the worksite safe and tidy.
Wear the correct PPE
Basic PPE such as gloves, eye protection and hard hats should be worn at all times, with necessary PPE for working at height such as work restraint systems, fall arrest systems and horizontal lifelines.
When working at height, it’s important to feel comfortable in the personal protective equipment (PPE) and workwear. You should always have access to the correct equipment that you need and the correct training to use it. For example, if you use a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) in your job, make sure you have the proper equipment for the type for the work you’re doing; ask yourself key questions to prepare your equipment such as ‘is the material as strong as I require in the case of an emergency?’.
Perform risk assessments
Working at height has all the same risks as working at ground level plus the added element of height. The five steps to carrying out a risk assessment are:
- 1. Identify the hazards in the area
- 2. Decide who may be harmed and by what
- 3. Assess each risk and take action
- 4. Make a record of the findings
- 5. Review the risk assessment
Risk assessments should be routinely carried out to raise awareness of the hazards and risks associated with each job, area and piece of equipment; this will help to identify preventative procedures that can be put into place to minimise risk, such as adding safety barriers or ensuring walkways are made more even and sturdy for workers at an elevated height.