In this blog we talk about how to manage falls in your workplace.
Michael discusses what you need to know about preventing falls in your office, your factory, your workshop or anywhere in your workplace.
You need, of course, to consult with your workers and ask them where the main falls risks that they think are out there.
Next is you need to use workplace inspection checklists. These are checklists you use for different hazards in the workplace.
One of the main things that we need to watch out for when it comes to falls is obviously heights. Heights is where you have your most serious falls. The greater the height, the greater the risk there is going to be.
The other one to look out for here is slopes. This is important for rooftops.
When it comes to risk assessment tools for falls management, there is no specific risk assessment tool.
You can use a generic or standard risk assessment tool.
The higher the height, the more detailed risk assessment you’re going to need to do.
Oftentimes if you’re talking about a construction workplace these risk assessments will be built into things like safe work method statements.
Once you’ve identified where the risk is, you need to obviously put some good control measures in place for reducing the risk of hurting ourselves from falls. You’re going to use the hierarchy of control.
Can we eliminate the risk completely?
You can use things like extendable or telescopic cleaners for example. To get to a height so that we don’t actually have to be up there, we can be standing on the ground and using some sort of extension to perform that heights work that we need to.
Where that’s not possible you can look at options where we’re working on a solid surface. You might be looking at things like work platforms.
Or you could use scissor lifts.
These are some good example of some engineering controls.
When it comes to administrative controls, you need to think about training workers in working at heights. There are specific working at heights training courses that you can send your workers to.
Or you may want to implement something called a work permit.
Work permits make sure you are comprehensive in your approach to making sure that you’ve got the appropriate administrative controls into place.
Therefore, a person will not be able to go and start working at heights until they have completed the work permit. This makes sure you have the appropriate controls in place.
There are some personal protective equipment (PPE) options as well. We might be looking at lanyards and appropriate fall arrest systems.
- You need to be comprehensive in your approach for identifying the hazards for falls.
- You can:
- use inspection checklists
- talk to your workers
- Conduct risk assessments for each one of these hazardous situations, and then we implement appropriate controls.
- Those controls should be, where possible, working on solid ground or a solid work surface that doesn’t have the risk of falls. If this is not possible, you need to implement good administrative systems, which should include a permit to work.