Workers who perform work at height should be provided with adequate protection against falls from a height. These requirements are defined by the Labor Code and specific regulations. The construction law also defines obligations to ensure safe working conditions. So how to protect yourself from falling from a height?

The lack of supervision is one of the most common causes of an accident

Each year, because of negligence in ensuring safe working conditions on construction sites, several dozen people die as a result of falling from a height. The reasons leading to the above are, first of all, failure to use or lack of personal protective equipment, lack of OHS supervision, lack or inadequate training in the field of health and safety at work, and lack or inadequate means of collective protection.

Fall from a height

Falling from a height – how to prevent it?

To protect yourself against falling, use appropriate protective equipment. However, to properly perform its functions, it should be selected for the position at which it is going to be used. When anchoring, follow these rules:

1. Anchoring points should be elements of the workstation structure to which it is possible to directly attach a connecting and shock-absorbing subassembly.
2. Where such points are missing, anchor components should be used. These are, for example, steel cables or chains surrounding construction elements.
3. When working on flat, horizontal surfaces with high load-bearing capacity, anchor devices in the form of “inertial mass” can be used.
4. When working in sewage chambers or similar depressions, anchoring components in the form of transverse beams (e.g. steel) or tripods should be used.
5. Anchorages should be strong.
6. An anchor point should be located directly above the user to restrict the free fall path.
7. The anchor point should be at such a distance that the user does not have to move horizontally from it to perform his work. This ensures that the amplitude of the employee’s pendulum motion is minimized while restraining the fall from height – reducing the risk of hitting structural elements of the workplace.
8. Proper selection of connecting and shock-absorbing components affects the safety of work at height.
9. If the worker moves horizontally from the anchor point, adequate space, free from structural elements, must be provided for him to perform the swing motion while arresting the fall. Determination of such an area should be made based on information from the shock absorber operating instructions.
10. An important issue is the necessity to choose the correct type of safety harness. A very important feature that has a direct impact on the functionality of the safety harness for a given work is the location of the fastening buckles.

Fall from a height

Working at height requires special care

Particular caution should be used when working at the height of the so-called “Hot work”, such as welding. Equipment resistant to hot factors is required. Before using the fall protection system, you should carefully analyze the instructions for use of individual components at a specific workplace.