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7 Simple ways to avoid falls when working at height

Workman on floor after falling from ladder

Do as much work as possible from the ground. If a task can be completed from the ground there’s no need to put yourself and others in danger by instead carrying out the job from a height. This can include preparing materials at ground level prior to completing the work giving you less to do while at a height.

Ensure you can get safely to and from where you’re working at height. Employees should have easy and safe access to the area you need to carry out work on. This could include scaffolding and working platforms, not just a ladder on an uneven surface.

Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly. You should be able to rely on the equipment you use to assist you and keep you safe, not add to the risk of injury. Faulty equipment could cause more serious injuries to occur especially when working at height.

Make sure you don’t overload or overreach while working at height. Stretching to reach objects and carrying too much can often cause you to lose your balance which could lead to you falling of the working area. Make several journeys carrying less or reposition yourself closer to the object when trying to reach it.

Take extra precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces. Fragile surfaces such as glass and rusted sheet metal are often not strong enough to support the weight of a worker and can collapse without warning. These surfaces may not always be obvious to see so a full inspection should be carried out to ensure all weak spots are identified.

Ensure you’re protected from falling objects. While working at height you may also have colleagues working above you, you should ensure there is suitable protection from any falling objects coming from above. This can include safety netting and personal protective equipment such as hard hats.

Consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures before you start the task in hand. You should have an emergency plan that comes into action should an accident occur while working at height. This should detail how injured workers are cared for in the immediate aftermath of an accident. This could be the difference between life and death.

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