Tag Archives: fall

Important Safety Measures When Working At Height

Regardless of the frequency of you or your employees working from heights, it’s crucial that you put much importance and attention on safety measures. Why?

All it takes is just one simple mistake in the way routine works from heights are performed for a potentially fatal fall to happen. And whether it’s one fatality or several, a fatality is a very serious matter regardless of the number.

Prevention is always better than cure and it’s no different when it comes to workplace safety when working from heights. The following safety measures can help you minimize or even prevent falling from height accidents in the workplace.

Proper Training

No amount of safety measures, gear, and equipment will ever make up for ignorance or irresponsible behaviors and attitudes. Giving workers proper and regular training will enable them to optimize the safety measures and equipment you’ll provide to minimize fall-from- height accidents. It can also help put them in their place if they’re a bit arrogant or overconfident because, during training, they’ll have the chance to see for themselves – without having to suffer injuries – the potentially fatal or very serious injuries they may suffer from their current attitudes.

Rails

Using rails whenever possible is the easiest way to provide passive protection for your workers who are working from heights. And yes, those workers include those who are careless or arrogant. Because railings surround workers while on platforms, it will take a lot for them to fall off platforms. And by a lot, I mean huge acts of stupidity and arrogance such as intentionally climbing out of railings just for kicks or for bragging rights.

Proper Estimation Of Fall Distance

It can be tempting to dismiss any discussions or thought processes that deal with estimation of fall distances because come on, how difficult can that be? If a work platform is 10 feet high, it follows that the falling distance is 10 feet and therefore, fall protection equipment such as a lanyard must be 10 feet long too.

Wrong! More than just the actual height of the platform, estimating falling distance should take into consideration the worker’s height, the point at which the lanyard is connected to his body, and deployment distance or length if the lanyard has a deceleration device. Why? It’s because all of these will extend the lanyard’s effective length, which can make it effectively longer than the falling height. And if that’s the case, a worker will still hit the ground when he falls despite having safety equipment such as a lanyard attached to him. So when estimating falling distance, you must factor other stuff like what I mentioned above in order to protect workers from falling-related injuries.

Choose The Right Anchor Point

Anchor points for fall protection when working from heights are points from which tie-off equipment such as lifelines and lanyards are connected to in order to keep workers from falling to the ground in case they lose balance and fall of their working platforms. The primary considerations for choosing the right anchor point are stability and strength. In particular, you’ll need to determine the maximum amount of stress or weight an anchor point can bear or carry, which must be about 5,000 pounds per attached person. And most fixtures aren’t that strong to handle such stress or weight.

Choosing the wrong anchor points can render the use of tie-off devices useless because what point is a strong lanyard or lifeline when the anchor point will eventually break off during a fall and let the worker tied to it, plunge to the ground?

Conclusion

Whether or not the risks for falling from height accidents are high, you should never neglect or take for granted key safety measures because the potential impacts in terms of injuries can be very serious to the point that it may cause permanent disability or death to your workers. There’s no such thing as too few or too many debilitating or fatal injuries from falls. Any debilitating or fatal fall is one fall from height accident too many. The only acceptable number for such is zero. And safety measures help you minimize the incidents and impacts of such to your workers and your company.

What To Do When There’s A Fall From Height Incident

Your ability to properly react to an accident where either you or someone else fell from a height can spell the difference between a falling accident that’s less serious and one that’s serious. Doing so can help you reduce significantly any consequences of such an accident, whether it’s psychological or physical. So what should you do when there’s a fall from height incident? Well, it depends on whether or not it’s you who fell or someone else.

If You’re The One Who Fell

If after falling you can sense that it’s still possible for you to get up on your own, you should first catch your breath and do a quick check of yourself for any injuries before attempting to get up. If you’re injured and you try to stand up without being aware of such an injury, you may just aggravate it. But if after checking you find that you’re injury free, then by all means get back up. Just take your time though and don’t be pressured to get back up as quickly as possible.

When getting up after falling from a height, you should proceed by first lying on your side. Then, bend your leg that’s on top before lifting yourself on your hands or elbows. When you’ve done that, look for a sturdy object such as an armchair then pull yourself – still positioned on your side – towards that object. As soon as you’re very near that sturdy object, get yourself to a kneeling position while putting your hands on that sturdy object. Put your dominant or stronger leg in front and gradually stand up while holding on the sturdy object for support. If it’s a sturdy chair or low-rise table, turn around gradually and sit down on it.

But what if you find yourself unable to stand up on your own? Stay down and call for help by shouting, using your radio or cellphone if you have one with you, gradually pull yourself to the nearest telephone if there’s one nearby, or make a lot of noise with whatever hard object you have in order to draw people’s attention.

If Someone Else Fell From A Height

While it’s very tempting to believe that the best way to help a person who fell from a height is to help them get back up quickly, it isn’t. The best way to proceed is to first check the person’s physical condition, e.g., is he conscious or not, or is he injured, and reassure him that you’re there to help him.

If the person who fell seems to be able to get right back up, help the person do so with great care. How? Bring a sturdy object such as a chair close to the person. Then, help him turn to his side and bend the leg on top and assist him into assuming a semi-seated posture. After that, put yourself behind him and hold him by the hips to help him assume a kneeling position.

Then, help him put both his hands on the sturdy object, put his stronger leg in front. Help him stand up as he holds on the sturdy object before turning him around to sit on it.

If the person isn’t able to get up, the best thing to do is administer first aid, help him take a comfortable position, keep him warm with a blanket or clothing item, and call immediately for help. Do not attempt to help him stand up if he’s injured and can’t get up.

Be Prepared All The Time

The chances of minimizing the impact of accidents involving falling from heights can be greatly reduced with awareness on proper handling of such, regardless if it happens to you or someone else. With quick, decisive, and proper action immediately after falling accidents, you can help yourself or other people limit injuries suffered and speed up the healing and recovery process. Knowledge therefore, is power.