If you work in the construction industry, then you’ll be aware that there are many risks to take into consideration. Looking at the statistics, it’s clear that the greatest of these threats is working at height. The HSE warns that the main cause of fatal accidents at work is falls from height. Fortunately there are numerous ways to mitigate your risk while on the construction site. Here are some tips for staying safe whilst working at height:

1.Assess your work

Before you head up the ladder, ask yourself how many of the tasks could be carried out on the ground? Could extendable tools allow you to stay at ground level? For example, more and more window cleaners are opting to use extendable brushes and hoses, removing the need for ladders altogether. Can you prepare some elements of the project beforehand? 

Take the time to consider your options before starting a job, and it could result in considerably shorter stretches spent at height.

2. Get the access equipment right

Choosing the best tool for the job makes sense for many reasons and chief among them is safety. Selecting the correct access equipment is vital to ensure your safety and can also help to speed up the job at hand.

Ladders and step ladders may be the most suitable choice for low-risk, short duration tasks. However, if you know that you’ll be up the ladder for more than thirty minutes then this isn’t the best solution. In this case, if the area of work is relatively small, then a mobile access tower or access platform would be ideal, such as those offered by equipment hire specialists The Hireman. For larger projects, or areas with an uneven ground surface, then you might need to erect scaffolding.

3. Inspect everything

Inspecting ladders and PPE (personal protective equipment) is fundamental to staying safe. Make sure the inspection is thorough and carried out by somebody who is aware of the hazards to look out for.

Are there signs of wear on the rungs of a ladder? Does the safety equipment harness have missing straps or worn fabric? Is the hard hat brittle or past its expiration date? Take the time to check everything.

4. Book a training course

If you or your employees are regularly working at height, or are involved in setting up access equipment, then taking a training course is recommended. There are a number of courses available for specific hazards, including ladder use and PASMA tower inspection. The majority of courses can be completed in half a day, which is certainly time well spent when it results in a safer working environment.

5. Know the regulations

Finally, you need to be up to date with the current regulations. These apply to all work at height tasks, where there is risk of injury from a fall. The regulations lay out the duties and responsibilities of employers, managers and building owners. For more information visit the working at height regulations 2005.