Heights

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When working at a height, even a few feet, safety precautions need to be taken. Most workers underestimate the seriousness of working at a height, expecially if the height is only a few feet. But falling even 3-4 feet can cause broken bones and even concussions.

Safety Precautions

  • All work is planned.
  • All workers are competent.
  • The surface is secure and non-slip.
  • Install handrails if possible, or a strong rope or a chain.
  • Avoid working in poorly lit conditions.
  • Avoid working in poor weather, if outside, e.g. rain, wind.
  • Use properly secuded ladderst to reach surface.
  • If material needs to be lifted or lowered use proper hoisting techniques. Do not throw it down and do not climb while holding it.
  • Do not stand on fragile surfaces unless it has been properly reinforced.
  • The platform should be large enough to stand on without getting close to the edge.

Fall Arrest Systems

This is a system where a worker uses a harness and is secured onto an immovable object, via a proper rope. Some examples of when this system is used: working on the roof of a house, climbing on a hydro pole, on a building being constructed.

This safety system is complicated and needs proper equipment as well as training by a professional. This method should not be used by only reading about it.

Basic things to know

  • The system must be such so the worker does not hit a surface if he falls.
  • The system must be such so there is some give in the mechanism, otherwise a lot of force will need to be absorbed by the body, which can lead to injury even though there is no direct contact with the ground.
  • If any damage is evident the equipment must be replaced immediately.
  • If the equipment has been subjected to a fall, it must be replaced immediately.
  • Inspect equipment daily.
  • Do not attach such a system to anything that moves or that may come lose.

The equipment that will be needed is:

  • An attachment location.
  • A body harness.
  • A vertical lifeline, also called a lanyard.
  • Webbing.
  • A horizontal lifeline.
  • Anchorages.
  • Connectors.

Reminder, a professional should be consulted to train workers who to use this type of tool. Do NOT attempt this without proper training.

Ladders

  • Secure the ladder at the top so it will not slide sideways.
  • Someone should be at the foot of the ladder holding the ladder with both hands.
  • Use ladders that have rubber non-slip feet.
  • Do not use ladders on snow, ice, or other slippery surface.
  • The base of the ladder, from the wall, should be of the height of the ladder. E.g. if the height is 8 feet, the ladder legs should be 2 feet from the wall.
  • Do not use near electical wires.
  • Do not move a ladder when it is extended.
  • Do not use a ladder other than for its intended use, e.g. as a scaffold.
  • Do not carry objects while climbing a ladder.
  • Do not over reach on a ladder.

Window Washing

Washing windows of high-rise buildings can be quite the experience. But, obviously, it also has its risks. To make such work safet the following recommendations should be followed;

  • All workers must be competent and of legal working age.
  • All workers must be trained on how to use all the equipment available.
  • All workers must obtain certification where applicable.
  • All workers should be totally free of drugs and alcohol, and should not be fatigued.
  • Roof anchors, window cleaner belt anchors, ladders, etc., must be used at all times.
  • All equipment should be inspected regularly by a competent workers that is not pressured in any way.
  • If equipment needs repair seek professional help.
  • Fall arrest systems should be implemented.
  • Beware of extreme weather conditions and the effects on the body. E.g. these workers are more susceptible to wind and cold weather.
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