When working at great heights, it is absolutely essential that the proper safety precautions are be observed at all times. With this in mind, Scaffold Tower, the UK’s leading supplier of industrial scaffold towers, have put together a list of seven tips for ensuring worker safety when working at height.
- Conduct a Risk Assessment before starting
When working at a height, it’s essential to complete a comprehensive risk assessment before beginning the job, in order to ensure that there is no viable alternative and that the chosen method of access is the safest way of completing the job.
If heights are determined to be unavoidable, the business is required to select all equipment to be used in carrying out the work very carefully in order to minimise risk and ensure that all employees are as safe as possible.
- Choose your equipment carefully
There are a variety of essential considerations to be taken into account when choosing the appropriate scaffolding and other essential equipment. From ground conditions, maximum workload, environmental conditions, and the competence and experience of the work force, there are many different aspects of the project which will help you determine the type of equipment you should be using.
- Consult the user manual
Any time you are using scaffolding equipment, it is vital to consult the user manuals, in order to ensure that you are using them in accordance to their exact specifications. From setup, to maintenance and inspection, to the safe use of any apparatus, the manual and manufacturer’s instruction guidelines are essential for the safety and success of any project.
- Be aware of potential hazards
If you are working on particularly uneven terrain, or near power lines, manhole covers and other potentially dangerous fixtures which could appear within a construction or warehousing environment, be aware of the potential hazards they could pose.
At the beginning of each job, it is important to take time to carry out a thorough safety assessment which addresses the above issues. Moreover, it is vital that all site workers keep potential safety hazards in the back of their minds at all times when working at heights and be extra cautious as a result.
- Conduct a pre-use inspection
Once you have carefully installed your scaffolding and the work is ready to begin, ensure that a thorough pre-use safety inspection has been conducted. Here, you should be on the look-out for anything which may have been missed during the set-up process, including checking that braces or ties to the building are secured safely and guardrails are installed correctly, as well as any other areas which are necessary to ensure the equipment is safe and ready to use.
- Keep the site organised
A safely constructed scaffold tower is just the beginning. Leaving tools or supplies lying around on the platforms can spell health and safety disasters for workers who are trying to manoeuver successfully, so be sure to keep your construction zone as organised and clutter-free as possible.
- Always use guardrails
Guardrails are crucial for scaffolding safety, particularly for any which sit at a height of ten feet or more above the ground. Always ensure that guardrails are properly fitted, at least on the three sections that face away from the building.
Where guardrails are removed to hoist supplies, you must ensure they are re-secured immediately afterwards. Moreover, on any occasion where guardrails are removed, even if only for a very short period, you must guarantee that all workers are equipped with the necessary protection gear.
Construction sites and warehouses are rife with potential hazards, particularly where significant heights are involved and large scaffolding towers are used. As such, adhering to the correct health and safety protocols is vital for ensuring staff are kept free from harm when working way above ground level.