Did you know that 40% of all on the job deaths that occur at work are a result of a fall from height? These typically involve workers that have been tasked with working on roofs and hard to reach places using a ladder. Unfortunately, this is a very damning fact, but one that can be addressed through simple and effective safety measures.
Preventative steps such as sufficient training in the safe use of ladders as well as providing equipment that is fit for purpose will have a dramatic impact on reducing these numbers. Another important way that you can keep safe whilst working at height is by wearing the correct clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Unsure about what clothes and PPE you should be wearing when using a ladder? Read on to find out!
Staying safe when working at height
When accidents do occur at work, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) often investigates to determine whether or not the incident could have been prevented. In the case that an accident couldn't have been avoided, HSE will find ways that make that particular task safer and less dangerous. More times than not, however, they will find that the accident could have been prevented if proper safety procedures were followed. As we mentioned above, these include training as well as wearing the correct clothing and gear to work at height.
Working at height clothing
When you work at height, whether that is on a ladder, scaffolding or roof, ensuring you are wearing the correct gear is paramount to the safety of not just yourself but other people who may be working with or around you. This includes both clothing and footwear.
Work clothing needs to be well-fitted and produced using durable fabrics. Any clothing that has tears or loose parts such as straps and belts represent a real safety hazard as they can easily get caught on the ladder, machinery or underfoot when moving. If you have any damaged clothing, it is advised that you replace the items immediately
Working at height footwear
Just like your clothing, the footwear that you use when working at height also needs to be adequate. These typically feature non-slip soles that ensure you remain safe from any slips or falls when working on a ladder, particularly if it is raining or wet. Steel toe caps are also advised as these will prevent any damage to your feet if you happen to drop tools whilst working. If you can, try to avoid long laces as these can be a real slip hazard if you were ever to step on them whilst climbing up or down the ladder. To be sure, try to wear work shoes or boots that have a velcro strap, zip or buckle. This will remove any danger of a slip or fall. If your footwear does have laces, tie them with a double knot to shorten the ends.
Inspecting your working at height gear
Before you undertake any tasks that require you to work at height, it is imperative that you inspect all your clothing as well as the equipment that you use. Oftentimes, an emphasis is placed on the equipment, such as a ladder, and the clothing is neglected.
All working clothing needs to be inspected regularly to ensure it is in full working order. Hanging straps need to be repaired, torn pockets need to be sewn up and loose soles need to be replaced. By ensuring the clothing, as well as the equipment you need to work at height is suitable, you will make great strides in improving the safety measures needed to prevent accidents from happening.
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