Control Measures to Prevent Falls

Posted on January 31, 2022 in General Info

Prevent Falls

Prevent Falls

Falls occur when someone is working above ground level and loses their footing, causing them to fall to the ground. This probably makes you think of people working on a ladder or on a roof, but the reality is that many serious or fatal fall injuries are from falls below head height. Sometimes all it takes is hitting your head hard or landing on a limb at a bad angle to incur a serious injury.

Fall hazards need to be taken into serious consideration. Falls are the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and are one of the main causes of major injuries.

Hazards may be created by:

  • Working on a ladder incorrectly or using one that is not stable.
  • Working on a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) that is not safe for use.
  • Working close to an opening, hole in the ground, or excavation site.
  • Working on scaffolding or the back of a truck unsafely.
  • Not using safety gear when working at height, e.g. harnesses.
  • Using inappropriate platforms for accessing heights, e.g. chairs and tables.
  • Surrounding hazards, e.g. high winds, overhead power lines, and other at-height obstructions that can throw off a person’s balance.

Fall hazards may also be indirect. For example: slip and trip hazards at height puts a person at risk of falling even if they are doing everything else right, as does faulty equipment that could cause an electric shock and make the person suddenly jerk backwards.

Tips for Preventing Fall Hazards:

Safety equipment: use airbags and safety nets below at-height work areas and ensure people are equipped with fall arrest harnesses. Use scaffolding, podium steps, and MEWPs where needed (equipment used for lifting people must adhere to regulations).

Ladder safety: only use ladders and stepladders for up to 30 minutes and always rest them on a firm, level surface. Do not lift more than 10kg up a ladder, do not overreach, and do not use the top 3 rungs and platform. Furthermore, make sure the ladder is leaned against a solid, stable surface and locking devices are fully engaged.

Good work practices: do not use any unsuitable platforms for accessing heights, e.g. a chair. Always use a proper ladder and follow safe procedures.

Instruction and training: follow all instruction and training provided for working at height safely. Use your initiative: discontinue work activities if conditions are evidently unsafe, e.g. high winds or an unstable ladder.

Barriers: when working at height or near excavation sites, barriers must be erected or already in place to prevent people from falling, i.e. guards on scaffolding and MEWPs and fences around holes in the ground.

Space: ensure there is plenty of open space around the area when working at height: each platform requires a minimum amount of space. Having to duck or twist will increase the risk of losing footing and falling.

Equipment maintenance: ensure that equipment used for working at height, e.g. MEWPs and ladders, is installed safely, fully operational, and free of issues. Carry out pre-use checks on equipment before using it.

Prevent other hazards: eliminate slip and trip hazards, as well as risks of electrocution by ensuring that equipment is free of faults.

For information on our commitment to Health & Safety please visit Protech Stay Safe or call 0845 604 1288 and speak with one of our friendly team.