Safety Considerations When Working at Height
We’re all aware of the old adage “prevention is the best cure” and this is so true when it comes to roofing work. Just think for a moment about how to prevent accidents when working at height on a rooftop and you’ll realise that the best way is to keep well away from the roof edge! However, keeping away from the edge of the roof is not the best way to avoid an accident – the most effective method of avoiding the edge of a roof is to ensure that access to the edge is prevented, by using a safety barrier or some other type of rooftop demarcation barrier.
Making sure that the correct type of access equipment is also the best way to prevent accidents and falls from height. For work that needs to be performed at height, scaffolding can be used as a temporary access solution (for one-off jobs) as a properly erected scaffolding platform will not only make the work safer, but it will also make it easier to manage, and thus quicker to undertake. In some situations, such as carrying out tasks higher than a few metres, a forklift truck can be combined with a mounting cage and guard railings.
Fall arrest equipment, such as lanyards, safety lines and harnesses all have their part to play in making work at height safer. However, it’s vital to choose the right solution for the type of work to be undertaken and the environment where the work will be carried out.
A fall from height is the most likely type of accident that will cause fatal or life-changing injuries for those who work in the construction industry, and in the roof sector in particular. This means that it’s vital that the right type of access equipment is chosen and that workers who are expected to use the access equipment are fully trained and competent to do so.
Before work begins it’s vital that a thorough risk assessment is carried out so that the type of access equipment necessary for the work at hand can be chosen. Both permanent and temporary access equipment should be assembled and installed by personnel who are trained and qualified in installing each specific type of access equipment.
Safety must always be the most important consideration when carrying out any sort of work at height. This doesn’t just mean the safety of the person carrying out the work, it’s essential to consider the safety of anybody in the work area, including colleagues and passers-by. There is a wide range of access equipment available, with something to cover just about every circumstance, so there really is no excuse nowadays for getting it wrong when working at height.