It’s a grim truth, but over 30,000 people die every year from accidental falls, and millions more require medical attention due to unintentional injuries. Because of this, it’s important that you prioritize safety at all times, but especially when working at heights. Whether your job requires you to work high above the ground or you’re completing tasks at home like trimming branches or cleaning your roof, you need to take fall protection seriously in order to avoid injury or worse.
To help you protect yourself, we’ve compiled a list of 5 safety measures and fall protection tips to practice while working above the ground. Let’s get started!
Use the Correct PPE
First and foremost, you need to use the correct PPE, or personal protective equipment, while you’re working. This means using a helmet, eye protection, proper footwear, gloves, a harness, and appropriate lanyards or karabiners. Ensure that all of your equipment is compatible with the other pieces to achieve the best protection possible.
Keep Your PPE in Peak Condition
Be sure to inspect your PPE before and after every single use. Properly functioning heights safety equipment can quite literally be a life-saver, so be extra thorough in your pre-use checks. During your checks, look for defective or missing parts and any damage, taking note of everything, even if it seems minor. Any equipment that doesn’t pass inspection shouldn’t be used under any circumstances. Never assume that someone else has done the proper checks. If you’re using an equipment rental service, it’s a good idea to do an inspection before you leave with your gear.
Choose the Correct Elevation System
On top of your personal equipment, you need to stay aware of the type of elevation system called for in various scenarios. For example, if you’re painting a house, a scaffold is probably going to be your best choice. When using a scaffold or lift, always equip yourself with a harness and lanyard. Only use a ladder when absolutely necessary, as this is the most dangerous form of an elevation system.
Use Rails Whenever Possible
The easiest way to approach working at heights safely is by using rails. With most lifts, you should be able to attach rails to boost safety. In some cases, effective use of railings can eliminate the need for a harness and carabiner. When working on a rooftop, set up a railing around the perimeter whenever possible. There are railing systems available for virtually every type of roof, so there’s no excuse not to use one!
Be Careful With Your Anchor Point
A harness and lanyard will do you no good if you fail to choose an appropriate anchor point. Never anchor to a decorative fixture, even it’s made of a strong material like steel. When choosing an anchor, be sure that it can hold at least 5,000 pounds. This might mean bringing a pre-engineered anchor with you to install at the job site.
Follow These Tips to Stay Safe While Working at Heights
Working at heights is a normal part of life for many people, from construction workers to DIY home improvement enthusiasts. And though a small amount of risk is unavoidable, you can work at any height safely by exercising caution and care. Remember, any time you’re working on a roof or other tall objects, you’re putting your life at risk. Don’t allow routine to make you careless. Now that you know how to stay safe when working at heights, be sure to take a look at our blog for more tips on staying safe on the job!