Working at heights is an inevitable part of the construction industry; however, at the same, it is oriented with high risk. In Australia itself, safety hazards, accidental events had led to serious injuries and major fatalities at different times, especially in the construction industry. According to the statistical records of Safe Work Australia, between 2015 to 2019, there has been considerable records of injuries and accidents occurring due to height safety like:
- The death of 122 workers was recorded directly related to fall from height.
- Only the construction industry accounted for over 40% of fatalities related to height falls.
- The greatest number of falls and fatalities were accounted from the construction industry.
What is Working at Heights?
Working at height refers to the potential risks of fall from definite heights at the workplace, which can incur injuries, and sometimes poses a life risk. Height safety norms not only concern falls from buildings, but it could also be a fall from elevated dock loading platform, roof edge, ladder, poles, etc., in most countries; fall protection regulations are applicable for any working person attending to work at a height more than 4 feet.
A PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) needs to oblige by an exclusive set of rules and regulations of safety protection measures standardized by WHS Regulations, the responsible body for managing the risk. These regulations are designed to ensure the optimum safety of a worker while working at a definite height.
- The working platform should offer optimum support, even if it is working at height.
- There should be safe means of accessing the workplace.
- Fall protection gears and devices should be utilized like a fall arrest system or fall prevention device.
Height Safety – Importance
As discussed previously, according to the statistical records of Safe Work Australia, falls from heights contribute to be the third-largest contributor to injuries and fatalities occurring at the workplace. Constructional companies and sites involve maximum working at heights, where work persons must reach out at definite heights to accomplish works. However, the Australian government stresses the compulsion of adhering to adequate and proper safety and protective measures. In Australia, proper height protection and safety systems are imperative to ensure height safety at the workplace. Among the most common safety measures that can be adapted at construction sites include installing fall prevention systems, primarily at the project site’s basic designing and planning stage. According to the types of works involved in the site, you can install guard railing, fall arrest systems, elevated work platforms, roof safety mesh, barriers, or scaffolding.
Varied Construction Accidents
Accidents fall, and injuries at construction sites can be due to many reasons. Inefficient designing, faulty equipment, weather-oriented difficulties, carelessness at workspace, mere accident, etc.; moreover, it is not like accidents oriented to height falls can only occur at construction sites. However, the chances happen to high at such work sites, involving machinery, height work, etc. here are some of the most common types of accidents that can be avoided with proper height safety protections.
Skiz or slip during loading and unloading goods and materials:
- Crane Or Hoist Accidents
- Improper Handling Of Fall Arrest Systems
- Faulty Fall Protection Devices
- Forklift Accidents
- Slips And Falls Due To Slippery Surface.
- Defective Tools And Machinery.
- Machinery Accidents
Accidents are unsolicited, and hence being prepared is important. Constructional sites nowadays involve extensive designing and planning before setting up worksites to involve optimal safety protection measures, among which height safety protection being one of the major concerns. Proper and thoughtful preventive safety measures can always save lives and avoid injuries and potential accidents.
In a working environment, with certain basic drives and awareness, we can best deal with the things around us.