In a three-part series, Narendra Shah, Director and Site Manager at Bayer Vapi shares tips for working safely at heights.
Whether you work at heights every day or just once in a while, your safety focus during those times is of utmost importance. It takes one mistake to turn a routine work task into a fatality. In a three-part series, Narendra Shah, Director and Site Manager at Bayer Vapi shares tips for working safely at heights.
Tips for Working Safely at Height – Part 3 of 3
In my last article, we learnt about different methodologies available for implementing risk control measures.
In this concluding part of the article, we will elaborate on some more aspects which must be reviewed prior to working at height is undertaken. People often underestimate the risk of falling, because the job will only take a few minutes. Therefore, there are a number of proper precautions that need to be taken before someoneenters an unsafe work area at height.
Static lines and anchor pointsAll anchorages should be identified by an authorised person (Issuing the permit or conducting pre-task analysis) before use
Each anchorage point should be located so that a lanyard of the system can be attached to it before the person using the system moves into a position where the person could fall.
Each component of the system and its attachment to an anchorage must be inspected by a competent person:
after it is installed but before it is used
at regular intervals
immediately after it has been used to arrest a fall.
Have static lines installed by competent people.
Equipment fit for dutyWorking at heights equipment shall comply and be used in accordance with relevant approved design standards and manufacturers’ specifications.Working at heights equipment, including harnesses, ladders, workboxes, elevated work platforms shall be fit for purpose and undergo pre-use checks and routine and documented inspections by a competent authorised person.
An equipment register and tagging system shall be in place to indicate compliance with this inspection.
Rescue procedures for fallsIn the event of a fall when using fall arrest systems, there is a risk of suspension trauma particularly if not rescued as soon as possible. Suspension trauma can be fatal.
The quick rescue of a person suspended in a full body harness, as soon as is possible, is vital. For this reason, workers should be capable of conducting a rescue of a fallen worker and be familiar with rescue procedures.
Workers and emergency response workers must be trained in the rescue procedures and be able to recognise the risks of suspension intolerance and act quickly in the rescue of a person.
Reviewing risk control measuresWork at height permit – must be completed and signed by an authorising person prior to working at heights is undertaken
The control measures that are put in place to prevent falls must be reviewed and if necessary revised,
To make sure they work as planned and to maintain an environment that is without risks to health and safety.
Last Minute Risk Analysis (LMRA): A Last Minute Risk Analysis is a short and final assessment at theworkplace, filled out by workers. Often a LMRA is a short checklistthat has a few common subjects; safety, health and environment.The purpose of a LMRA is to create awareness and exclude potential risks.
Five reasons why a LMRA is necessary:Identify and reduce any risks of an incident at the workplace.
The working situation may have changed before the work hasstarted, possibly creating new dangerous situations.
Make workers more aware about their safety while working atheight
(Partly) exclude the risk of bad habits and a better assess offall hazards.
Confront and control any possible risk: If a risk is reported, measures need to be taken to create a safe environment for the workers.
Strict compliance to the permit to work and participation in the risk assessment and pre task analysis
Participation in training and tool-box talks
Anchoring the safety harness lanyard as trained; always, and without any deviation
Workers must be empowered to always speak up and stop the job for any reason when it is unsafe.
Training and Competence
The training provided to individuals is to be determined by training needs analysis that should include the nature of the work, areas of work, designation of the person
Fitness for work - working at heights
Employees/Contractors shall advise their supervisor if they are not fit to perform work at height for any reason including consideration of medical conditions.
Employees and contractors shall receive appropriate awareness training on the nature of the working at heights hazards on the site, work environment, and activities being undertaken during the induction process, including:
Hazards when working at heights; and
The need for specialised training and equipment and fall prevention systems to perform work where a person could fall more than 1.8m.
Competent person training
Employees and contractors required to perform work which could result in a person or object falling shall have training in:
Safe procedures for work at heights.
The correct wearing and use of personal fall arrest and fall restraint equipment where this equipment is to be used.
The correct wearing of hard hats with chin straps for all personnel working at height.
Recognising hazards associated with using non-compatible or non-compliant equipment;
The process to check working at heights equipment prior to use;
The emergency response procedures including the need to rescue an arrested fall in the fastest possible time to prevent suspension trauma;
Check and Verify competence of contract employees on regular basis.
Working safely and securely at heights calls for planning, education, and persistence and cannot come with a chance. Follow these tips and work safely at height.
About the author:
Narendra Shah is Director and Site Manager at Bayer Vapi and comes with over 30 years of experience in the chemical industry.