Over the past few decades many improvements have occurred to practices, equipment and health and safety to keep workers safe. Working at height still remains one of the most dangerous aspects of construction, and still takes lives each year. Despite utilising safety tools such as scaffolding towers, this is not a guarantee; it’s important not to take hazards for granted, and consider all potential risks when working at height.
Whether trades are working on a roof or scaffolding platform there is still a risk. Roofs in need of repair or replacement can be fragile and a hazard to workers. Even with a scaffold it is possible to fall down or through a roof. Appropriate counter-measures such as roof ladders and crawling boards should be considered for added safety.
Scaffolds should always be erected by trusted companies who use structurally sound equipment and regularly inspect it. If scaffolding contractors keep their boards and fixings in good condition and install them correctly there should be very minimal risk.
Distance of potential fall
Depending on the height and the nature of work involved, additional safety solutions may be appropriate to reduce risk from trips and falls. Consider fall arrest systems, safety netting and decking.
Scaffolding should have sufficient guardrails and barriers which should be at optimum height without significant gaps.
It is important not to overlook the weather as a safety hazard when working at height. Rain and ice can create slippery surfaces which increase the chances of slips and falls; add to this strong winds which can dislodge materials and create instability when working at height. In the summer heatwaves bring with them an increased risk of dizziness and heatstroke which should not be ignored.
When working at height there is a real risk of materials and equipment falling on people below. This isn’t just a risk for workers buy passers-by as well. There are a range of measures which should be used to help reduce such dangers.
- Install toe boards as well as guard-rails on scaffolding platforms
- Restrict access to the work site
- Use netting around scaffolding to contain objects.
To ensure your scaffolding adequately protects workers and others, choose a reputable scaffolding company with the right experience, insurance and safety practices to keep you safe.