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Workers at Heights

Last updated: July 12, 2019

What Does Workers at Heights Mean?

Workers at heights can be defined as workers in any situation where they are vulnerable to a fall or collapse leading to personal injury. This would include working on a ladder, flat roof, fragile surface, and scaffolds.

Workers working without safety precautions are more susceptible to a fall. It is recommended that risk should be assessed before asking a worker to perform a task at height.

Safeopedia Explains Workers at Heights

To date, many cases of falls have been reported, and the most significant reason has been the violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules. If no safety precaution is taken or OSHA guidelines are violated, this may result in severe personal injury and even death.

Following all the OSHA guidelines is the only way to mitigate the risk of falling and preventing workers from personal injury. Before deploying workers at the workplace, employers must assess that the structure set up for working at height has enough strength to withstand bodyweight.

Fall protection equipment must be provided to workers if the height is at least six feet tall. Fall protection equipment must include net systems, guardrail systems, and personal fall arrest systems. The following will further explain the requirements:

Scaffolds—Guardrails must be installed if workers are working on scaffolds six feet above the ground or more. Employers must confirm that scaffolds are properly planked. No additional weight should be put on a scaffold, such as a cluster of bricks. Workers must be trained to climb on the scaffold.

Building Structures—Workers must use a personal fall arrest system if they are working at six feet or higher or with unprotected edges. Guardrails must be properly fixed. Any slight damage to a guardrail should be immediately mended. Regardless of the height, all workers must use personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid falling onto sharp, protruded spikes. A railing should be mounted on the side of stairs to minimize the damage if an accident occurs.

Powered Work Platforms—Powered platforms include man baskets, forklifts, scissor lifts, and aerial lifts. Powered-platform workers must wear PPE to avoid personal injury in case they fall. Workers should be trained in the use of powered platforms as well.

OSHA recommends that supervisors must monitor the working style of personnel at height. If their work style is found to be flawed, they must immediately be properly trained. Work injury is inevitable, but the risk of falling can be minimized by following OSHA guidelines strictly.


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