• FALL-PAC: CREATING SAFER ENVIRONMENTS
  • Keeping Safe When Working at Height in the Summer Months

    25th July 2017

    There are many jobs that are better suited to the summer months. Roofing repairs, exterior painting and tree surgery are all occupations that are more easily (and safely) carried out when the risk of high winds, rain, snow and icy conditions is low. However, even in perfect weather, where tasks of this nature involve working at height, the possibility of a fall (and the consequential risk of injury or worse) is always present. For that reason, it is essential that steps are taken to keep those who are working at height as safe as possible in order to eliminate or reduce the risk of a fall. There are several ways of achieving this aim, which we summarize below.

    Preventing falls

    Clearly, the most effective way of keeping an employee protected from the risk associated with working at height is to prevent a fall from happening altogether. Fall prevention measures include the employment of specialised equipment on the site in which the work is being carried out. This might include the introduction of scaffolding, guard rails or parapets. This type of fall prevention measure is most suitable for work that is being carried out to a building or other fixed structure and allows the work to be carried out without the risk of a fall that is associated with working only from a ladder.

    Arresting or restraining falls

    Certain types of occupation involve working in circumstances that demand a free range of movement, sometimes in confined spaces, where scaffolding and similar types of fall protection equipment are not feasible. Such types of employment include working on trees, telegraph poles and electricity pylons. Although it may not be possible to completely remove the risk of a fall, it is nevertheless possible to arrest a fall. A fall from a height can be arrested through the use of a system of harnesses, belts and lifelines that are securely anchored so that, if a fall occurs, the worker is protected from suffering the serious injuries that are likely to occur as a result of falling all the way to the ground.

    Cushioning Falls

    In certain occupations, the options of fall prevention or fall arrest may not be available. Certain jobs involve working in confined spaces or require a degree of flexibility of movement that militates against the use of either of these systems of protection. In these cases, the most effective means of keeping a worker safe is through the cushioning of any falls that might occur. Fall cushioning is provided by the employment of soft fall protection units in the work location. If a fall occurs, these fall protection bags remove or significantly reduce the risk of injury to the worker. They are portable and easily assembled on any work site where fall cushioning is needed.

    Although the weather in the summer usually makes it safer to undertake certain types of job, it is still necessary to keep safe when working at height. The best means of eradicating risk is, of course, to avoid working at height altogether. Where this is not possible, however, some form of fall prevention or protection of the type set out above should be utilised to enhance the safety of the workforce. You can view the full range of Fall-Pac products and services at www.fall-pac.com