Are you being employed or employing someone to work at heights and want to fully understand the ins and outs of when is fall protection required? Today we will look fall protection, the fall protection devices you can use to stay safe, and how fall prevention systems can reduce the risk of injury on-site. In this article we will cover:
Whenever an individual is working at heights, there is always a considered risk of falling, no matter how far you are from solid ground. Regardless of the job, it is important employers create a safe working environment and employees conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner. Anyone conducting any sort of working from heights job should have an in-depth understanding of when is fall protection required and how to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
At Newcastle Safety Servicing, we provide a wide range of fall protection equipment online. We only stock products selected by industry professionals who understand the importance of fall protection equipment. All of our products have been tested to ensure they can stand up to the rigours and demand required to keep individuals working at height safe. As well as providing leading fall protection equipment, we also deliver expert working at heights inspection, fall protection gear inspection and harness inspection and servicing.
To start out let’s look at the difference between fall protection and fall prevention:
Fall prevention focusses on preventing or eliminating the hazard of a fall. This is done by evaluating risks prior to the commencement of work to ensure a safe working environment. If risks are identified, the employer should attempt to minimise these hazards and communicate this with their employee.
Fall protection relates to devices or products that decrease or limit the risk of injury from a fall from height. This does not prevent the fall but is equipment to reduce the distance of the fall and potential effects to the individual and surrounding working area.
So, when is fall protection required?
Fall protection is required when any individual is working at a height of 2 metres or greater.
The most effective way to keep workers safe is to conduct suitable fall prevention measures which identify and address all hazards.
Fall prevention systems are exactly that – they are systems that prevent falls as the worker is progressing towards a potential hazard point. A fall prevention system that most people are indirectly aware of are guardrails and walkways. Guardrails ensure individuals are the correct distance away from hazardous edges or ledges and provide safe ways to navigate environments that could be dangerous otherwise.
Ideal circumstances would call for all hazards to be controlled and fall prevention to successfully mitigate every single risk on-site. However, most of the time, this isn’t the case. Due to the ranging environments and tasks required when working at heights, there are always going to be potential hazards present. This is when fall protection is required.
So, what does fall protection look like and when must fall protection devices be used? The type of job being undertaken and the environmental conditions it is being conducted in will determine what type of fall protection equipment is required.
Fall protection can be categorised into two categories. General, which can be used in every circumstance such as catch platforms and safety nets. The other is personal fall protection, which prevents personal falls using height safety PPE equipment.
Personal fall protection equipment includes safety harnesses and shock absorbing lanyards which use rope lines and pole straps to protect the fall of the individual. Shock absorbing lanyards reduce the fall arresting forces experienced and reduce the effects of injuries as a result of these forces. The safety harness is the most vital piece of equipment, the arresting rope line is fitted to the harness at a point which will provide the best protection for the individual and situation. These harnesses must be worn at all times when working under fall protection, therefore it is important that workers are adequately fitted with a comfortable and well fitted harness and training in fall protection procedures.
Individual fall protection equipment should be thoroughly tested and checked to ensure they are functioning correctly. Malfunctioning equipment could result in serious consequences including injury and death. As per Australian standards, regular inspections and assessments are required by an accredited technician. These inspections regard to all personal equipment including harnesses, lanyards and common use equipment such as slings and ropes. Routine and thorough inspections provide another line of defence against any potential hazardous events occurring.
Fall protection is necessary to ensure the safety of the individual who is working at heights. Unfortunately, serious injury and fatality can occur as a direct result of a working from heights. It is up to the employers and employees to develop a safe and healthy working environment that reduces the possibility of any hazards or serious injury. When an event does occur and an individual experiences a fall from height, the appropriate application of fall protection equipment ensures that the height of their fall is reduced, and chance of injury is minimised.
Adequate fall prevention and protection procedures will provide workers with peace of mind when working from heights and allow them to better complete their job.
If you have any questions about the right equipment for you or when is fall protection required don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Head to our website to shop our extensive range now. Otherwise, engage with our experts for a routine fall protection equipment inspection.