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Working at heights can kill you

24 August 2018

How working at heights can seriously harm you

If you are in a job where you have to take risks and are working at heights, it is imperative that you are protected. It is your employer’s duty of care but it is also your responsibility too. Your employer needs to make sure that there are certain safety procedures and protocol in place.  To adhere and comply with health and safety regulation.

It is also up to you to be safe and make sure your colleagues are too. Risk assessments needs to be carried out in every place of work in every sector.

There have been many deaths due to falls and collapses in Ireland with 21 of the overall total falls from heights in farming.

There are many work procedures for working at heights and here are some:

  • Stairs should not have an excessive pitch or angle
  • Each step should have an equal rise in height and width
  • The sides of stairs should be protected by a wall or railing of sufficient strength
  • Where a railing is used, there should be at least two rails, with the lower rail positioned mid-way between the top rail and pitch line
  • To prevent falls, lofts, work platforms and walkways should have a protective barrier at the edge
  • Over ground slurry tanks and grain or meal bins should have a secure working platform with protective rails and a safe means of access, such as a caged ladder
  • Surfaces of stairs and walkways should be firmly fixed and should not become slippery while in use
  • Sighting rails should be installed on silage-pit walls. The purpose of these is to indicate the location of the walls to the machine operator loading the silage when the silage is above the walls. They are not intended to prevent a machine overturning. In addition, sighting rails provide protection against a person falling

Requirements for employers

The Work at Height Regulations require employers to ensure that:

  • The risk assessment All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • A risk assessment is carried out for all work conducted at height
  • Appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • People working at a height are competent
  • Equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained
  • Risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled

It should include a careful examination of what harm could be caused from working at height with a view to taking the effective steps to reduce the likelihood of this harm occurring, either through avoiding the activity or, where this is not reasonably practicable, by carrying it out in a safe manner using work equipment that is appropriate to the task and the level of risk.

If you want to know more about risk assessment to decide the best, take our working at heights online course. We will be able to help you to plan and organise, give you the correct legislation and safe work procedures using a ladder, MEWP and work platforms.