Working at height: Five ways to work safely

Lifeline

Working at height means working in any place where, unless safety measures are taken, a person might fall and result in injury or death.

Falling from height is one of the biggest causes of work accidents and deaths. The most common causes are dropping stairs and falls through fragile roofs.

It is work at height when:

  • You work on a ladder or on a roof;
  • You could fall through a fragile surface.

Before you work at height you should walk through these steps:

  • Evaluate the situation or, if you do not have the necessary competence, go seek specialized help;
  • Avoid working at height if there are other methods;
  • When the work at height cannot be avoided, use a secured work place to prevent falls and the right type of equipment;
  • You should minimize the distance and the possible consequences of a fall, using the right type of equipment when the risk cannot be eliminated.

To avoid and minimize risks in case of working at height, information is the first step.

Here are five methods to work at height:

Fall protection

Equipment used to support the user and to safely arrest him before, during or after a possible fall.

A fall protection system usually consist of:

  • Anchor point;
  • Safety harness;
  • Anchor strap and fall arrester.

Fall arrest

A fall protection system that allow users to work in a risk area and also stop a fall using a fall arrester.
A fall arrester system usually consists of:

  • Anchor point;
  • Safety harness;
  • Guided type fall arrester.

Positioning

Supporting equipment that prevents the risk of falling from height and to work in safety.
Supportive equipment usually consists of:

  • Anchor point;
  • Safety harness;
  • Safety lanyards.

Rope access

A system used to support a user when there are no points to set foot on, or these are insecure.
Such a system usually consists of:

  • Anchor point;
  • Safety harness with keepers to secure webbing, lanyards and sitting position;
  • Two rope system: operating rope, spare rope.

Rescue

A system to rescue a user who needs to be evacuated or saved.
An ordinary rescue system consists of:

  • Anchor point;
  • Safety harness or rescue sling;
  • Rescue and / or evacuation equipment.

The main goal when using methods to work at height (rope access, lifeline systems) is to plan, manage and carry work with a minimal number of accidents, incidents or dangerous situations, to continuously ensure a secure workplace, with no material damage or other negative consequences on the environment.

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