What are the Main Hazards of Working at Height?

Hazards of Working at Height

The UK sees a high number of workplace incidents related to height, with 35-40 fatalities last year accounting for 30% of all work accidents. Working at height poses significant risks and difficulties for workers, including higher chances of death or severe injury. Ladder falls and falls from fragile surfaces are common causes of harm. “Work at height” refers to any situation where a person may fall and sustain injury without proper safety measures, such as falling through a weak roof.

To ensure worker safety, a thorough risk assessment must be done before any work at height is conducted. Workers must be trained and protected, with hazards identified as the first step in prevention. This section aims to educate employers on how to prevent workers from falling while working at height through practical and feasible safety measures.

hazards of working at height

Work at Height: What Is It?

Working at height refers to tasks performed at a level that poses a risk of injury or harm. It encompasses a wide range of activities from operating cranes, aerial lifts and harnesses to using ladders or step-ladders. According to Health and Safety UK, work at height is defined as work carried out in any place where a person could fall and sustain personal injury if adequate precautions are not taken.

It is important to be aware of the potential hazards when working at height and to take the necessary safety measures. Low-risk situations may not require specific precautions but it is still important to exercise caution. Despite a common misconception, the use of ladders is not prohibited while working at height.

To ensure safety while working at height, it is crucial to take precautions such as avoiding exposed edges, openings, or fragile surfaces and avoiding tumbling from ground level through floor openings or gaps.

What are the Main Hazards When Working at Height? 5

Potential Hazards when working at a height

There are many reasons for the cause of fatality or serious injuries caused by falling from any height or even being near a construction site.

In this section, we will discuss potential hazards when working at heights that need to be kept in mind in order to stay safe and careful. 

The stability of the work platform or roof

Working at height from a building’s roof or scaffolding requires careful planning and safety measures. Scaffolding must be regularly assessed for safety, and any necessary repairs must be made to ensure a safe work environment. To minimise the risk of accidents, it is advisable to work with a professional scaffolding rental company and schedule regular scaffold inspections.

Roofs undergoing repair or replacement may be fragile and unstable, making it important to take extra precautions. The use of roof ladders and crawling boards can reduce the risk of falls while working on a construction site. It is crucial to choose the appropriate scaffolding based on the type of work to be performed, as this can greatly impact safety over the long term.

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Changing weather conditions

Because the weather is frequently unexpected, it is critical to be prepared for a variety of scenarios such as rainy weather, heavy snow, frozen ground, and other possible risks. Ice-covered surfaces can become dangerously slippery, and high gusts can endanger employees and equipment. Heatwaves can also cause heatstroke and collapse, which increases the danger of falls from great heights.

Workers should take adequate steps to reduce the consequences of uncertain weather. Staying hydrated in hot weather, securing equipment and supplies against high winds, and having access to safety harnesses are all examples. Proper planning and implementation of control measures can help to guarantee a safe working environment in all weather situations.

The potential distance of a fall

Working at height can pose serious risks, with falls potentially leading to fatal consequences. To minimize these risks, workers must be aware of the heights at which they will be working, as well as the associated hazards, through thorough risk assessments. To prevent or reduce injuries from trips, slips, and falls, workers should be trained on appropriate safety measures. Personal protective equipment, such as fall arrest systems, should also be considered based on the assessment results. An effective safety plan should be in place prior to starting work at any height.

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An object or tool falling from a high altitude

Working at height poses a risk not just to those performing the work, but also to anyone below. Dropping tools or equipment can result in serious injury or damage to those below. To avoid accidents, proper assembly and storage of materials and equipment at height is crucial. Workers should also wear protective headgear, such as construction caps. Safety measures, such as rails and toe boards on working platforms and warning signs, can also help prevent objects from falling and protect those below.

When planning work at height, what factors need to be taken into account

Working at height can be dangerous, so preparation and safety measures are essential. Consider the following tips to ensure the safety of workers:

-Factor in weather and environment to ensure worker safety -Regularly check work areas for hazards when working at height -Implement measures to prevent falling objects and materials

-Establish exclusion zones or use mesh to protect workers from scaffolds

-Properly store materials and equipment to avoid accidents

-Have an evacuation plan in case of emergencies

-Choose a reliable and appropriate scaffolding system from a reputable company.

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Emergency Procedures

Ensure that personnel are aware with emergency protocols in the case of an emergency. Prepare for rescue rather than depending exclusively on emergency aid.

Make sure you understand the roof rules. Workplace accidents occur when a competent employee with the appropriate skill set is not employed. So remember to keep this in mind at all times. When using scaffolds, use safety signs and suggestions.

Choose an appropriate anchor point based on the kind of scaffolding. Use safety belts and connect them appropriately.

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