Can the work be done on the ground avoiding exposure to working at height? Could the risk of falling be eliminated by use of a solid construction? A redesign should be considered to eliminate the need for working at heights.
Example of this may include placing an air-conditioner unit on the ground rather than on the roof. Although placing air conditioner units on roofs do offer some advantages, it introduces additional risks of falls when maintenance is required. Therefore, moving the air conditioner unit to a ground-based location eliminates the need to work at heights.
Passive Fall Protection
Can the work be accessed using permanent safety systems that don’t need to be altered or taken down after installation, such as platforms, walkways & guardrails or fixed ladders? Involving the use of barriers to prevent operatives reaching edge/fall conditions reduces the risk of a fall from height.
For example, this may include installing guardrails and walkways around a fall edge or replacing temporary access systems like ladders with permanently fixed ladder systems. Using temporary ladders can provide even more risks, especially if not used correctly, with permanent safety systems in place it reduces the fall risk and ultimately increases the efficiency of access. View case studies with Passive Fall Protection Systems in action
Fall Restraint Systems
Working in restraint means the worker is ‘restrained’ or prevented from being able to get into a place where a fall can occur. For example, users are attached to a static line that is positioned 3 metres away from a fall edge via a 2m fixed length lanyard. When attached like this you are working in fall restraint because the lanyard length does not extent past the fall edge, preventing a free fall situation from occurring.
Working in a Fall restraint position still requires significant user competency and training, as an improperly adjusted lanyard could still expose the operator to a fall.
It is important to assess the falling risk for each individual work site. Details like the location, stability and surface should be considered when deciding on whether a restraint system is necessary or more passive protection such as Walkway & Guardrails. If you’re unsure, the team at Anchor Safe have a wealth of experience and are more than happy to help. View case studies with Fall Restraint systems in action
Fall Arrest Systems
Fall arrest systems like the name suggests “arrest” the fall of a worker once a fall has already occurred. A fall arrest system is designed to safely stop a worker from falling greater than 1 metre, or a maximum of 2 metres. In the event of a fall a rescue plan must be in place and ready to action.
The fall arrest line is attached to the point on the harness that will provide the most appropriate protection for the situation. A full body harness must always be worn when working in fall arrest. An individual arrest system must only be used when circumstances do not permit a higher level of control. They rely on workers to take safety into their own hands and require thorough checks and testing before each use.
While there is still a huge risk involved Fall Arrest systems such as static lines provide continuous attachment and are strategically installed to ensure workers can access all areas of work without needing to detach the line. View case studies with Fall Arrest systems in action
Administrative controls involve implementing temporary barriers and signage to prevent people from reaching the area where a fall risk can occur, administrative controls also include increasing the workers awareness of a fall hazard through work practices or procedures.
Temporary measures are the lowest on the hierarchy of Fall Protection because they can be moved or tampered with and are as only as good as the barrier and implementation method employed by those using them to control the hazards. Read our 5 ways to minimise Risk when working at heights