Why have this talk? More than one third of accidents that killed workers in 2019–20 were from falls from height. 50% of all falls over 2 metres result in death.
What will this talk cover? The hazards faced and how to prepare if you are working at height.
Working at Height Toolbox Talk
What is working at height?
Any work situation where you could fall and injure yourself and others. So it includes working above or below ground level on platforms, trap hatches, on top of vehicles as well as ladders and roofs.
Hazards to consider when working at height
- The type of work.
- How many people will be working at height and for how long.
- Whether there are different access points and bottlenecks.
- Whether falling objects (such as dropped tools) present a danger.
- How far is the potential fall and therefore risk of injury.
- What equipment can mitigate the risk (eg guard rails, toe boards, harnesses) and how often are they inspected/maintained.
- To what extent the weather (rain, ices, snow, wind, sun) will affect working conditions, surfaces and safety.
- The competency of the workers involved.
- Evacuation and emergency procedures.
Before working at height
- Consider whether the work can be done from the ground, or even if parts of it can be done on the ground.
- Before any work at height or access onto a roof, fragile materials should be identified, and control measures defined and implemented.
- Roof-edge barriers (or scaffold), also known as edge-protection, must be erected to prevent people and materials falling.
- Any ladders used for access to the area where work at height is taking place must extend at least one metre above the stepping off point and must be secured.
- Where access ladders rise above nine metres, a safe intermediate platform must be provided.
- Ladders must be rested at the correct angle (1 unit out of 4 units in height).
- Training must be provided for workers.
Safe working on roofs
- Only competent operatives may be used for roofing work.
- Crawling boards or ladders must be provided and used where the roof is liable to collapse under a person’s weight or the roof is sloping with a pitch over 10 degrees.
- Where work is of short duration and the provision of guard-rails and toe boards is impracticable, safety harnesses must be used with suitable anchorage points provided.
- Openings must be covered or guarded, if removed for the passage of workers or materials, it should be replaced immediately.
Questions for employees
- What should be assessed before work at height starts?
- What should you have if an access ladder extends beyond nine metres?
- When would you use crawling boards?
- Where work is of short duration, what practical safety precautions can be taken?
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