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Incident Overview

There has been a number of events of late where the risks associated with working at height have not been appreciated by those involved. In all instances, the appropriate controls to protect our people and keep them safe were readily available, but not used. Some examples include, a worker exiting a EWP on to a roof and not wearing a harness, a worker not using fall protection as the job was minor and would only take a moment, workers standing within 2m of an edge without restraint and workers falling through a skylight as no protective measures were implemented. Working at height is high risk and needs to be treated as such, even for those quick and easy jobs.

In all instances outlined above, complacency by the persons involved has occurred. Whilst no one was seriously injured in each of these occurrences, these incidents highlight the importance of appropriate task planning and following correct processes. In any of these incidents a person could have been seriously injured or fatally wounded.

Sometimes it is easy to think “it won’t happen to me, it is a two second job and I’ll just get it done” However sometime things do go wrong and we need to make sure the right measures are implemented to prevent this from happening.

What can be done differently to prevent a similar incident from occurring?

Housekeeping & Order

  • Ensure that the appropriate equipment to manage a fall risk is available and used.
  • Remove any obstacles (where possible) that prevent ease of equipment use.

Positions of People

  • Working on an elevated surface, where there is potential to fall requires you to be protected, restrained or using fall arrest equipment at all times.
    Only trained persons are to work at height.

Protective Equipment

  • Ensure that the protective equipment (i.e. harness and lanyard) are available and used correctly at all times and within inspection dates.

Rules & Procedures

  • Ensure that appropriate planning occurs prior to works, considering all potential fall risks and adequately managing those risks identified.

  • Rules and procedures exist for working at height outlining the controls and processes to be followed. Speak with your supervisor or Programmed representative if you are not aware of these.

  • You are to be secured to an anchor at all times whilst working at height when using fall arrest and restraint equipment.

  • Follow the operational requirements of all safety equipment at all times.

Tools & Equipment

  • Where possible, eliminate the need to work at height. Consider using an Elevated Work Platform, scaffolding or other safeguarding.
  • Preference to be given to engineered controls where possible over harnesses and lanyards.

HSE Representative: Jay Ferguson
Date of Issue: 12/03/2020

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220 – Working at Height
Categories: Safety Alert