Working at heights means that an individual is working in a place that requires necessary precautions to prevent them from falling at a distance, resulting in serious injury. Did you know injuries from working at heights is one of the most prominent causes of major work related injuries and fatalities? Falls from ladders, scaffolding, and lifts onto debris can cause serious injury even when the height is perceived to not be dangerous. Employers need to ensure that they take all measures necessary to lower the risk of their workers falling from a height using preemptive hazard recognition to constant site assessment. Fall prevention should not be taken lightly. In 2016, 11,495 lost-time injury (LTI) claims were made in Ontario alone. That is 31 workers a day suffering from serious injury due to falls. Nine resulted in fatalities, while 70% of those falls were same level falls (ground level). But, first of all, workers should try to avoid working at height if at all possible. If they can’t, they should ensure that they use the right equipment and safety procedures for their specific task, ensuring their personal workspace is safe for themselves and others around the site. Remember to secure all items when at height, as falling tools is as big a hazard as falling people! Be sure to be following all guidelines set out by your employer and the Ontario Government. THE DO’S & DON’TS OF WORKING AT HEIGHTS
DO as much work as you can while you are on the ground.
DO make sure that the employees can safely move to and from the area where they are working at height.
DO ensure that the equipment that you’re using for the job is strong, stable and suitable enough to get the job done. Inspect and maintain them regularly.
DO be careful when you are working near to a fragile surface.
DO ensure that you are protected from falling objects.
DO make preparations for emergency evacuations and rescues.
DON’T overload the ladders that they are working on, with equipment or materials.
DON’T try to reach too far when you’re on a ladder or stepladder.
DON’T use ladders or stepladders to do work that entail heavy or strenuous tasks. Only use them to do work that’s quick and light.
DON’T allow incompetent workers do any work at height.
DON’T lean or place the ladder on or fragile upper surfaces.
DON’T stay quiet when you feel someone is compromising their own safety or the safety of others