Working from a height, whether it’s on a ladder, scaffolding, or a rooftop, poses a significant risk of injury or death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from heights accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal occupational injuries in the construction industry in 2020. It’s crucial for workers to understand the dangers associated with working at heights and take appropriate safety measures to protect themselves. Here are ten health and safety tips to keep in mind when working from a height:
- Use the right equipment: Always use the right equipment for the job, such as a sturdy ladder or scaffold that meets the manufacturer’s specifications. Do not exceed the weight limit for the equipment, and ensure that it is in good condition and properly maintained.
- Secure the equipment: When using a ladder, make sure it is securely anchored to prevent tipping. If you are using scaffolding, ensure that it is properly erected and that all guardrails and midrails and rubber roof walkway pads are in place.
- Wear personal protective equipment: Wear a hard hat, safety harness, and other appropriate personal protective equipment to protect against falls. Make sure that the harness fits properly and is properly secured.
- Plan your work: Before starting work, assess the risks and develop a plan to minimize the hazards. Identify any potential fall hazards and take steps to eliminate or control them.
- Maintain three points of contact: Always maintain three points of contact when climbing a ladder or scaffold. This means keeping two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the equipment at all times.
- Avoid distractions: Distractions can lead to accidents. Avoid using your phone or engaging in other distractions while working from a height.
- Watch your step: Pay close attention to where you step and what you are stepping on. Make sure that the surface is stable and secure before placing your weight on it.
- Know your limits: Do not attempt to do a job that is beyond your abilities. If you are not comfortable working from a height, find someone who is.