Working above the ground in any industry can be dangerous, often leading to serious injury and death.
In 2018 falls from height were the leading cause of workplace fatality in construction, and represented the third highest proportion of workplace fatalities across all industries. With falls presenting a particular hazard for many trades, the construction industry also produces more serious fall-related claims than any other industry.
Broadly defined as “falling from one level to another” these incidents are not limited to falls from significant heights. In fact, small falls can be just as dangerous, with half of all fall from height fatalities in the construction industry involving falls from 3 metres or less.
In many instances when working at height there are less hazardous ways for this work to be performed. Here are some ways to minimise these hazards and stay safe.
Removing the need to work at height and reducing the amount of time we spend working at height are the most effective ways to minimise the risk of elevated work. We must encourage our workforce to assess the need to complete work at height, and to complete all possible tasks on solid construction or at ground level, before moving up.
According to Safe Work Australia, complacency is another big safety issue – particularly in industries like construction where tasks can quickly seem repetitive. Add complacency to already high-risk tasks (like working at height) and you have a recipe for disaster.
Performing thorough hazard assessments every time high we work at height is essential for staying safe. These checks are important no matter how familiar we are with our task and our work environment, and regardless of how often we work at height.
Whilst industry tickets for working at height don’t technically ‘expire’, regularly revisiting your training will help to keep you focused and across changes in legislation and safe work practices – it could even save your life. As a registered training organisation, Coates Hire provides a working at height training course, and can help prepare your team for working in many other high risk environments. Get in touch today to book your refresher.
As employers we must provide safe means for our workforce to enter and exit the workplace, and any area from which they could fall. To minimise risk when working at height it is also important to provide the safest and most appropriate means for accessing elevated work sites for any given task.
With 30% of all serious claims for falls from a height caused by falls from ladders, this high-risk equipment should be considered a last resort when working at height. Scaffolding, booms, cherry pickers and scissor lifts provide far safer alternatives.
For more information on spotting hazards and minimising the risk of working at height, check out the Work Health and Safety Act and Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice.
For all your access equipment hire and training needs, contact Coates Hire or find your local branch.
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