One of the biggest causes of death or major injury within the construction industry continues to be working at height. It is easy to see why accidents may occur, particularly where adequate health and safety measures are not adhered to. However, failing to have such measures in place can put people at danger, which can result in personal injury claims made against the company.
Towers and Sanders, which offers high-quality, BSI-registered scaffold towers for sale in London, outlines five key factors to consider if you have staff working at height within your construction site.
- Risk assessment
It is a requirement that at the beginning of every job, a comprehensive risk assessment must be undertaken. Part of this assessment will outline whether there is any viable alternative to working at height. If no alternative is found and working at height cannot be avoided, the method of access should be defined, as well as the safest method of carrying out the job. It is also the employer’s duty to select the most appropriate equipment and confirm that is meets all necessary safety standards so as to minimise staff risk.
There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right equipment for those working at height. For instance, the ground conditions, maximum workload, environmental surroundings and even the experience of your staff, will all play a part in the choice of equipment.
It is essential that any equipment selected meets the high-quality standards that are necessary for safely working at height. As such, it is important to only purchase or rent equipment from trusted industry suppliers, such as those whose apparatus are BSI-Kitemark registered, or those who have membership of the British Safety Council.
Inadequately trained staff is one of the core reasons for accidents, which is why it is vital that all those working at height are fully trained regarding the health and safety risks and how to mitigate them. With regard to equipment, staff must understand its proper use, consulting the user manuals if need be.
These manuals should be kept in a safe place and not discarded, since they provide valuable guidelines on how to install, maintain and inspect equipment, all are of which are necessary for ensuring the ongoing safety of staff using it.
There may be any number of hazards present on a construction site at any given time, and these can only be amplified when height is added to the mix. For instance, if staff are working above ground level, on uneven surfaces or near power lines and manhole covers, they must understand how to deal with any risks these situations may pose. A thorough safety assessment should be carried out at the beginning of a project, ensuring staff know how to spot potential hazards.
Additionally, the construction site must be kept organised and obstruction-free at all times during the project. This is good health and safety practice, since having tools and equipment lying around may be extremely problematic for workers who may be attempting to manoeuvre correctly at height.
Once the equipment is installed and workers are ready to begin the project, a final safety inspection must take place. Here, the inspection must be scrupulous, keeping an eye out for anything that may have been overlooked while installing. For example, the braces and ties used to secure the equipment to the building must be very secure, as should the guardrails.
By adhering to the above guidelines, you can ensure that your staff are kept as safe as possible when working at height!