Is your work at height safety system a good fit?
8th November 2018
With an ever-increasing array of safety equipment available on the market for working at height, it's more important than ever to understand the differences & which is right for the task at hand. We've created a 6-point guide to wearable work at height safety systems for use with access platforms to help make sure yours is a good fit, for your operator and for the job...
- Work Restraint Systems (fall prevention): There are 2 main systems that are industry recommended when working at height. The first is a work restraint system for fall prevention. This allows the operator to conduct their task whilst preventing them from reaching a leading edge or the point where a fall could occur. This solution is suitable for work that needs to be carried out on the precipice of a hazard and will usually consist of a fixed-length lanyard and body harness, and can encompass a belt.
- Fall Arrest Systems (fall protection): The second system is a fall arrest system for fall protection. This is needed when the operator can reach the leading edge, allowing maximum freedom of movement. In the event of a fall, these systems will protect the operator, stopping them from impacting a lower level by absorbing the kinetic energy that is generated by falling.
- Harnesses: For use with access platforms, these must be full body harness used in conjunction with a fall arrest or work restraint lanyard. Harnesses are available in 1, 2, 3 and 5-point systems, where a 3-point harness would usually be selected for more technically challenging tasks (such as positing and work restraint), and a 5-point harness generally used for abseiling.
- Fit: Once you’ve selected your harness, it’s also essential that the fit is suited to the user. Some suppliers offer gender specific harnesses to help ensure suitability. A harness will be safest and most effective if it’s suitable for the size and weight of the user and all attachments and anchor points are correctly positioned for the intended application.
- Training: Thankfully, most businesses now accept that before use, operators require training on access platforms to ensure they know how to use them safely. But the same should be true for the safety systems they use in conjunction with these machines to prevent and protect them from falls. A good safety harness training course will provide operators with the skills and knowledge needed to implement best practice whilst using the equipment, including maintenance of the harness, ensuring the correct fit, pre-use checks, anchor points and the rescue plan.
- Rescue Plan: So, last but not least, don’t forget your rescue plan! Wherever there is a need to work at height, employers are not only legally obligated to have fall protection or fall prevention systems in place, but they also need to have a rescue plan prepared and communicated, should someone become suspended or trapped at height. This will identify the appropriate equipment for the application and implement safety procedures that mitigate the distance and consequences should an accident occur.
For more information on selecting the right working at height system or access equipment training today, please get in touch here or call 01246 555222.
We also have a selection of safety harnesses and lanyards available via our online shop.