The fact that the worker feels safe has the potential to avoid general safety hazards and to perform work at height efficiently. Building a sense of confidence in the team is closely related to the implementation of appropriate security measures against unauthorized circumstances. For this purpose, dedicated procedures are used. What exactly rules and actions can contribute to building a sense of security for the entire team of people working at height?
What is work at height?
Working at height is associated with carrying out activities at a height of at least one meter above the ground or the floor. However, there are two exclusions from this situation:
- when this area is protected by shielding from all possible sides to a height of not less than one and a half meters, with solid walls or walls containing glazed surfaces,
- when the area has solid and stable structures or devices that provide protection against falls from a height.
Works at height are, as a rule, combined with the so-called rope or construction access. People employed in this type of work, in addition to being at height, often also perform various types of commissioned activities, including e.g. assembly, service, cleaning or renovation. The catalog of these tasks is much wider. Nevertheless, working at height carries the risk of injury or even, in extreme situations, death. An entrepreneur who employs workers for work at heights is burdened with the greatest responsibility for their safety. However, this does not release them from diligent compliance with all workplace rules. Often the health and life of other team members depends on the duty and caution of one person.
Requirements for workers at height
Due to the fact that work at height is demanding and relatively dangerous work, not everyone qualifies for employment here. An employee performing work at height, in accordance with applicable law, should:
- be at least 18 years old,
- have at least elementary education,
- have a good psychophysical condition, confirmed by an appropriate certificate of an occupational medicine doctor (no contraindications for performing this type of work),
- have appropriate qualifications, certificates and certificates,
- complete training in the field of health and safety and fire protection,
- be familiar with the occupational risk assessment and all instructions and procedures to be used in a given workplace, including a dedicated workplace manual,
- be equipped with the so-called personal protective equipment and acquainted with the instructions for their use during the training.
It is important that the employee has a predisposition to perform this type of work, i.e. composure, responsibility, common sense as well as accuracy and diligence in applying all rules applicable at a given position. Although it is not specified in the form of legal regulations, every employer, during the recruitment process, should check a potential candidate for these characteristics. Both the employer and the members of the working team would not like to deal with a person who would be a source of additional stress and would constitute a burden and a threat.
Important security tasks for the employer
The employer is obliged to provide his employees with appropriate supervision (e.g. manager). It should also provide all people who perform work at height with security from other employees. The employer's obligation is also to equip employees with appropriate personal protective equipment free of charge. At the same time, one should not forget about collective protection measures and appropriate marking of zones for work at height or potentially dangerous places. Each employee must be properly trained as to the scope and order of the work undertaken and their participation in it.
There are means of individual and collective protection. Personal protective equipment is designed to protect the health and life of each employee separately. The use of this type of equipment consists in wearing it or using it when performing activities of a given type (e.g. helmet, harness, clothing). Collective protection measures protect against security threats and may be used by a group of people employed in activities of a given type. Most often they have the form of technical solutions (e.g. scaffolding, meshes).
Equipment for work at height
Properly selected equipment helps to increase the safety level of employees in the performance of their tasks. However, it is only helpful if its technical condition allows it. That is why, when choosing the equipment, it is worth being guided by its quality. For this purpose, it is necessary to check whether the devices, mechanisms systems, and even tools or accessories have the appropriate certificates. It is important that employees are trained in the proper handling of the equipment and that they undertake the activity of checking the suitability of its individual elements every day. Helpful and sometimes even necessary equipment for work at height often includes:
- clothing and footwear should be specialized (e.g. thermoactive, waterproof), sometimes they are also equipped with gloves and goggles,
- the helmet (helmet), made of high-quality materials, should be of an appropriate size (covering the appropriate surfaces of the head so as not to obstruct visibility) and be light; the type of helmet also adjusts to the type of work performed,
- mountaineering harness, must be comfortable (protection against abrasions, belt length adjustment), this type of equipment may cover the entire body or the area of the hips and thighs,
- high-quality climbing ropes (static and dynamic), certified for safety, with appropriate parameters (e.g. diameter, weight),
- dedicated carabiners (their role is, among others, to secure various types of knots)
- benches, useful when hanging over the ground / floor for a long time,
- approach devices,
- pulleys for transporting loads,
- lanyards, equipment used in self-insurance,
- workstation plates, helping to organize the workplace,
- tapes (take part in belaying).
It is in the interest of every employer to take all steps to protect the health of their employees. However, there is an even more important reason to care for your employees, including those who work at height. Human resources constitute the value of a company and often influence its competitive advantage. That is why it is worth taking care of your people and providing them with such conditions that engaged and fully motivated, they can perform their duties to the benefit of the company's business activity.