5 ways to prevent falls from height
Mar 1, 2023
When working from height is part of the day-to-day, it can be easy to get complacent when using ladders and platforms. However, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report states that falls from height are still the main cause of fatal injury in the UK workplace. Here, Kris Hallee, Head of Product Development at Werner, discusses five ways to prevent them.
Choosing the Right Ladder
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by choice as there are so many ladders available on the market. However, it is important to do some research and make certain that it’s fit for purpose before investing.
Ladders that aren’t quite the right height may cause the user to overreach which can affect balance. Equally, choosing a ladder that is insufficient for the load it will be used to carry is unsafe. Therefore, it is vital to consider who will be using the ladder and for what.
Regular training is recommended when it comes to the use of ladders. Regulations can change and better equipment and ways of working can be updated.
Not only this, but decorators will benefit from getting to know the labels to look out for when purchasing top-quality equipment, such as the EN 131 standard label, which is attached to ladders that have been through meticulous testing to ensure they meet the appropriate safety standard for professional use.
Frequent Ladder Audits
While it may seem time-consuming, a ladder should be inspected every time it is used. It isn’t safe to assume that because it was in good shape the day before, it is going to be in working order the next.
Signs of damage may not be obvious without a detailed inspection and taking a small amount of time to run through a safety checklist is well worth it, if it prevents a serious injury, or even worse, a fatality whilst at work. This should include checking all stiles, rungs and surfaces.
Avoiding falls from height requires undivided attention. However, there may be several distractions on-site, especially if the workplace is particularly busy or loud. Therefore, it is best to avoid further distraction by not using headphones, smartphones or getting lost in conversation when working on ladders. In addition, check your surroundings and pay attention to any obstacles and fire exits that may be blocked.
It is also advisable to recognise the impact of anything that could cause a break in focus, such as stress, physical pain, or feeling the need to rush a job.
Using Accessories to Declutter the Workspace
Of course, a decorator isn’t going to be caught without the right tools for the job. Easy access to paintbrushes, paint pots, tape, and pencils, for example, is essential. However, if they are not in a designated place, they can be easy to trip over, which risks injury.
Making use of ladder accessories, such as utility buckets, and job caddies that attach to ladder tops can prevent this. The added benefit of these is an extended workstation which reduces the risk of injury when going up and down rungs to grab what’s needed.
Many falls from height can be prevented by correct usage and ensuring the right equipment is used for the job. Following these safety tips will give users peace of mind when working on ladders and platforms.
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