Working At Height – Safety is a Two Way Street
Those who work at height, either on a regular or occasional basis, are at an increased risk of falls and accidents. Working at height requires sensible risk management; this is the principle that underpins the framework of the UK Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). There are practical steps that can be taken by employers in order to protect the health and safety of their workers who work at height. However, although health and safety at work is ultimately the responsibility of employers, there are also considerations that workers can take into account in order to ensure that they follow best practice and that they are as safe as possible when undertaking tasks at height.
If your employer expects you to work at height, then you need to ensure that you’ve undergone the requisite safety training for the task. It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the safety training you need. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have a responsible attitude during the training. You will need to learn all that you are taught – your life may depend on it. This means paying attention and ensuring that you remember all parts of the training. You will know how you learn best – whether it’s taking notes, making diagrams or any other remembering techniques, make sure that what you’re learning leaves the training session with you. It’s of no use to undergo the training if you forget or ignore everything you learn once you leave the training sessions – this is all information that you will need to access every time you work at height.
Don’t become complacent just because you’re used to working at height. Complacency can lead to accidents. Don’t take shortcuts, whether it’s in the preparation to work at height or undertaking the actual tasks. The safety measures you’re supposed to take have been designed to ensure that you’re as safe as possible. However, the final responsibility lies with you – you need to use all the resources available to you at all times when working at height. These resources should include the correct safety equipjment for the tasks at hand. When working on flat roofs, the most dangeours places to work are near the edge or near skylights. These areas should ideally be rendered inaccessible via the installation of rooftop demarcation barrier systems, with those near the edge being at least 2 metres away from it.
Leave the jokes on the ground. We all know that everybody likes to lighten the atmosphere at work by having a laugh. That’s all well and good, but working at height is no place for jokes and pranks. Taking the mick whilst working at height could lead to accidents and injuries – not just for you, but for your colleagues as well. This is especially true for newcomers to the job – don’t be tempted to put these guys through ‘funny’ initiation pranks. Jokes and light-heartedness both have their place in the workplace and that place is in the break room or canteen. There’s no room for fun while working at height.
Being sensible and taking a responsible attitude towards both your work and your colleagues will go a long way towards ensuring that the safety equipment and safety procedures for working at height will be effective. Remember, working at height can be a risky business – it’s up to everybody involved to pull together in order to make sure that the work is done as safely and efficiently as possible.