25 Jun Potential Height Safety Hazards
There are a number of factors that contribute to height safety hazards. Falls from a height can cause serious injury and death which is why implementing risk minimisation strategies is vitally important. Working from a height without safety precautions is an unnecessary risk that no worker should attempt regardless of their experience.
Below we discuss some of the factors that can increase risk and the chance of injury.
Changes in weather conditions can cause heightened risk of slips and falls when working from a height. Weather changes can occur suddenly, meaning the safety requirements alter too. Always be aware of weather forecasts and act quickly to reduce risk.
The reasons why weather can increase risk include:
- Rain and dew can cause slippery surfaces.
- High wind gusts can affect balance and stability.
- Extreme sun and heat can cause heat stroke or burn.
- Visibility can also be affected by weather conditions.
On work sites, there may be the risk of unexpected falling objects such as building materials, hand-held tools or rubbish. Working from a height could present greater risk for falling objects. A worker must consider any hazards of falling objects above them and also ensure nothing on their level of work is likely to fall onto workers or pedestrians below.
To reduce the risk of falling objects, consider the following:
- Remove items that haven’t been tied down.
- Regularly dispose of rubbish.
- Use mesh on scaffolding.
- Create exclusion zones where applicable.
- Store materials appropriately.
- Use a tethering device for tools.
Pitch of the Roof
A roof with a steep pitch presents a greater risk than a flat platform. There is still risk on a low pitched roof, however, and this danger should not be ignored. Appropriate footwear, height safety equipment and risk assessment should all be accounted for regardless of roof pitch.
Skylights can present a fall hazard due to workers being unaware of their presence or due to their quality and condition being brittle. Skylights can easily blend it with other structures such as roof sheets.
To account for skylights, ensure a risk assessment includes identification of the structures and place appropriate protectors or guardrails around the area to reduce risk.
Many accidents that occur at a height have skylights involved and reducing this risk is highly important.
Working and Equipment Conditions
Safety equipment and the entire working environment should be assessed before commencing work each day. Checklists that consider the potential hazards and their minimisation strategies could be used to thoroughly complete the safety assessment.
Equipment of Worker
Any person working from a height should be equipped with appropriate footwear, sun protection, and safety equipment. Soft soled shoes are typically worn for roof work.
Why choose AHSS?
Australian Height Safety Services has been providing a wide array of expert systems, installation, and safety advice for more than 15 years to ensure worker safety and reduce the potential for liability. The company’s systems are cost effective solutions that are in compliance with all regulatory requirements for multiple applications.