The two main causes of falling from heights
Work safely at heights

The two main causes of falling from heights

Falling from heights is a common cause of death in the construction industry; it has also led to a considerable number of Aussie workers suffer life-long injuries, making working at heights one of the most dangerous activities on a worksite.

Thankfully however, a number of preventative measures can be put in place to help minimise, and prevent, injury and death.

With this in mind, The Aussie Group height safety division wanted to prepare this brief article to highlight the two most common causes of falling when undertaking work at heights, providing useful tips that will benefit all workers. For more detailed information, have a look at the Sae Work Australia ‘Safe Work on Roofs’ information sheet.

Fragile roofs

Many workers underestimate the fragility of roofing, and as a result this factor is a major cause for falling when working at heights. People who perform any activity on a fragile roof are at risk of slipping or falling, which represents a critical risk to their wellbeing and others.

Fragile roof surfaces include, but are not limited to:

• Roof lights
• Non-reinforced fibre cement sheets
• Corrugated metal sheets
• Tiles
• Glass

For complete peace of mind and safety, it is advisable to consider all roof surfaces fragile, until a qualified person confirms has assessed the roof and confirms otherwise.

As best practice, here are some tips to working on fragile roofs:

  • Fit guard rails
  • Use walkways or crawl boards
  • Stage the work on the roof
  • Use an elevating platform
  • Install safety meshing under the roof or skylights
  • Use an appropriate harness system

Weather conditions
Weather conditions may have a direct impact on work surfaces, workers health, equipment, and roofing materials; hence, they must always be taken into consideration.

For instance, strong winds can affect the balance of workers, destabilise access equipment, and even blow equipment away. Weather conditions that are likely to result in someone falling include:

  • Rain
  • Hail
  • Wind
  • Heat (heat exhaustion; dehydration etc.)
  • Cold (numbness in limbs etc.)
  • UV exposure (reflection on eyes etc.)

To mitigate the risk of falling originated by weather conditions, it is essential to wear, at all times, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that best protects against the hazardous condition. It is also important to have controls in place that dictate:

  • how workers are to perform their duties under various weather conditions
  • what controls are to be implemented to make the job and worksite safer

Working safely at heights is a serious topic. If you want more information about how to avoid incidents from happening, and to better protect your workers, contact one of our specialists at The Aussie Group. Come in-store now or call us today!

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