6 Common Safety Mistakes Workers Do When Working at Height
Work at heights is still a significant factor in workplace injuries and deaths. Employee falls from unsecured or poorly secured rooftops and ladders is a major cause of accidents and injuries. Working at heights means any distance that could result in an injury in the event of a fall, usually 6’ and above. One mistake, however simple it may look, could cause serious consequences. This article explores 6 common safety mistakes people make concerning work at heights. But before you begin working on the roof, make sure the relevant fall protection system, such as a barrier for flat roof, has been installed for your safety.
- Failure to Assess Risk
Failing to assess the risks involved with a particular project is an all-encompassing mistake most people make. Some people assume that it is okay to take short cuts to get the job done faster. This is a dangerous mistake that can easily result in injuries. First, you need to examine other solutions versus sending an employee to a potentially dangerous height. Avoid the option of working at height as much as possible.
If the decision still favours sending the employee to the height, you need to consider mitigation steps, such as installing relevant fall protection such as rails and nets. Check the roof surface for obstacles, inadequate support, or holes that can lead to a fall. Follow established procedures and guidelines to avoid injuries.
- Improper Safety Procedures - Ladders
Ladder falls are a common cause of work at height injuries. There are safety procedures that every employee must follow when using a ladder, especially when working at a potentially dangerous height. For instance, ensure the ladder is secured using ratchet straps and eye-bolts. Depending on the ladders you’re using in your workplace, you may need specialised training to include forms of risk protection, such as the using safety lines.
- Non-Conformance to European Standards
European Standards conformance is non-negotiable. You should always ensure to purchase compliant systems designed and manufactured to meet the relevant EU safety standards. You don’t want to be working at heights with a non-compliant system that may not be able to protect you in the event of an accident. Make sure your supplier understands European Standards and is committed to providing safe products at all times.
- Improper Use of Safety Equipment
Not knowing how to properly use a piece of equipment such as a ladder or personal fall arrest system (PFAS) when working at height is a dangerous mistake one can make. An employee should not be allowed to work on a piece of equipment if they don’t know how to use it properly. A simple mistake could lead to an injury or damage to the equipment. To properly use any equipment, training is essential to ensure safety during operation. When using personal protective equipment (PPE), workers should ensure they put on the right equipment and that it fits properly.
- Not Performing Pre-Climb PPE Checks
Workers working at height should check their gear first before they start climbing to the work area. This will enable them to detect any mistake in the PPE or gear that needs to be fixed before setting off. You’ll avoid the possibility of critical PPE failure, especially in the event of an incident. If there’s something that needs to be readjusted, repaired, or replaced, arrange for the necessary action as soon as possible to avoid delays when the project begins.
- Failing to Maintain Your Safety Equipment
The safety equipment can only be helpful if it’s in the proper working condition. Maintenance is key to ensuring this. There should be clearly documented maintenance steps to ensure the equipment is thoroughly inspected regularly and deemed okay to be used for the job.