Working at height Falls from height are the biggest single cause of fatal injuries, and the second biggest cause of major injuries, caused by accidents at work. Each year around fatalities and 4000 major injuries are caused by falls at work. Reducing this toll is one of the HSCs Priority Programmes, aims to reduce the incidence of fatal and major injuries by 10% over 10 years from1999/2000.
Working at height: The most common cause of injuries... They occur when people are working on or near - Ladders Unprotected roof edges Unsafe or incomplete scaffolding Fragile materials, i.e., asbestos roofing Or through unsafe work practices
What can be done to prevent these injuries? Consider- S.T.A.C.
Remember - S.T.A.C. Stop Plan the job IN Rush Dont
Remember - S.T.A.C. Think What is the duration of the job, how many people are required for the job, what tools are required to do the job
Remember - S.T.A.C. Avoid Can the job be done another way How do I do it another way?
Remember - S.T.A.C. Control Planning controls events, ensure personnel are competent, have been instructed and trained Has the state of health of those will be working at height been taken into account?
The most common cause of injuries... Is the usage of ladders Where the operatives failed to maintain a three point of contact with the ladder Over reaching, or Not siting the ladder on firm level ground
Fall prevention Consider using stilts for internal ceiling work Towers or Scaffolding or Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs)
Fall prevention Tower Scaffolds -Ensure they have been erected on firm level ground -There is internal access -Overall height is less than 3x the min. base dimension -Are inspected before and after use
Fall prevention General Scaffolding -Ensure they are erected by competent persons -Double guard rails are fitted -Where appropriate, scaffold has been tied and braced as necessary - It is inspected regularly
Fall prevention MEWPs -Ensure ground conditions are suitable -Anticipate the load to be lifted - Is the platform size big enough? -Ask for the MEWPs 6 monthly exam cert -Ask for copies of maintenance records -Is there provision for attaching fall arrest system
Injury prevention How to prevent injury should you take a fall: -Passive fall protection -Fall bags for use under 2m in height -Bean bags -Air bags -Close slung safety netting
Injury prevention What of safety harnesses? When tied into a fall arrest system you may still hit the ground if the working platform is less than 5.25 meters You have to bear in mind that should someone fall they need to be rescued within twenty minutes to prevent trauma and how they are to be rescued
Hierarchy for safe work at height 1. AVOID the risk by not working at height – Where it is reasonably practicable to carry out the work safely other than at a height, do so.
Hierarchy for safe work at height 2. PREVENT falls - where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid work at height:- You should assess the risks and take measures to allow the work to be done whilst preventing so far as is reasonably practicable people or objects falling. This might include ensuring the work is carried out safely from an existing place of work; or choosing the right work equipment to prevent falls.
Hierarchy for safe work at height 3. MITIGATE the consequences of a fall - where the risk of people or objects falling still remains you should take steps to minimize the distance and consequences of such falls. This also involves the selection and use of work equipment.
Hierarchy for safe work at height 4. At all stages give collective protective measures (e.g. guardrails, nets, airbags, etc.) precedence over personal protective measures (e.g. safety harnesses)
Roof Work Identify all fragile materials –This could be asbestos roofing –Roofing lights: glass or otherwise Create safe access Ensure there is edge protection around the platform
Summary Stop - Plan the job Think- What is needed to do the job Avoid - Can it be done differently Control - Use competent personnel Manage risks from fragile surfaces, falling objects and danger areas (i.e., public pedestrian areas)
Working at Height Dont let Heath Robinson be your guide to safety. Its your health and your quality of life that will suffer. Remember your family needs you. Questions?