08/11/2021 by Pro Netting Essex Limited 0 Comments
How to Work Safely at Height During Winter
Working at height during winter can be dangerous, and this is not fresh news. In autumn and winter, more incidents of major slips, trips, and falls are reported compared to summer and spring, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Because of that, it is only right to ensure the safety of employees when carrying out works at elevated areas.
Unfortunately, though, we are not in control of the season. And all that is left for us are preventive measures and precautions to be safe while working at height in harsh weather conditions. As cliché as it may sound, but prevention is always better than cure. So, we made a list of ten best practices to work safely at height during winter. Let us take a look!
(Winter or not, you can observe these practices to ensure safety at all times.)
1. Provide Safety Training
Every worker’s safety is dependent on comprehensive health and safety training. Workers in organisations like construction firms and other service-oriented businesses that use equipment can be in danger while operating in high-risk areas. In a situation like this, safety extends beyond a worker’s preview to the job.
Understanding the risks of the harsh winter conditions will help workers protect themselves against potential hazards on the site. The common challenges workers may face this season are—slips, falls, dehydration, and cold injuries. It is vital to be familiar with these challenges to respond more efficiently when an accident happens.
2. Inspect the Site First
Inspection is the foundation of a safe work environment. Before engaging in any work on-site, whether at height or not, it is crucial to conduct a series of inspections first. Doing this will help determine potential health hazards in the areas of work. It is also one of the many ways to identify if the site is safe to work on, prepare for the drastic weather, and avoid cold stress.
When risks are identified, you know how to address them the right way. If snow is covering the area, remove them before starting the work. In addition, structural safety should also be on top of the line when working at height. Unstable structures are at high risk of collapse, especially with the added weight of snow, ice, and wind load.
3. Dress for the Weather
In order to work properly in cold weather, workers must feel comfortable. What better way to be comfortable in winter than to dress warmly enough? Make sure that employees don waterproof boots, gloves, and thermal clothing before starting their works.
Employees should also pay more attention to wet clothing. When you’re covered in snow, change clothes as soon as possible before moisture penetrates the fabric to your skin. Severe cold can harm people. Thus, while working at height during winter, always remain warm and safe.
4. Use Harness and PPE
Apart from winter working clothes, employees should also wear harnesses. Since clothing for the winter is usually bulkier compared to regular clothing, constantly adjust the harness. It should hug your body correctly in a way that does not restrict you from working around.
Moreover, no one should be working at height without personal protective equipment or PPE. That includes protection, such as chaps pants, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks, and respirators. Protection equipment should also come with a high visibility hat, vest, and harness lanyard. Designed to protect the wearer, PPE helps minimise threats and other injuries.
5. Work in Pair
There is a reason why we included this item in the list. Working at a lower temperature than usual makes it difficult to determine when to stop working, especially when stress, disorientation, and numbness from the cold kick in. Although workers may be aware of the red flags, they may not stop working and ask for medical attention. This is when working in pairs becomes more beneficial than ever. When employees have a partner, they can look after each other while working at height during winter.
6. Do Not Take Shortcuts
Another best practice to ensure safety while working at height during winter is posting warning signs. In winter, the weather does not lend itself to easy ways. Suppose you want to raise awareness of the hazards brought by the weather on cold days, post posters that contain reminders and tips on how to work safely. It is worth your time and money because these signs will prevent dangerous fall accidents and other hazards in the workplace.
7. Mind Over Matter
Even if you do not see ice forming, it does not mean the surface is not slippery. Every time you enter the site, always think about your well-being and the safety of the surrounding people. It is also at this time when health and safety training becomes helpful. The more aware you are of safety threats, the more prepared you are to react to them in times of need. Also, identify where you can access the area to find your way out in case things worsen. And make sure you know where to go and who to contact.
8. Install Safety Netting
The last item in this list is installing a safety netting system around the area of work. This netting system comprises heavy-duty knitted polyethylene and can protect anyone from falling debris up to 30 feet from where the net is installed.
In every season, the safety of people inside and outside the site is the priority. So, when it comes to construction, installing safety netting ensures the protection of pedestrians and crews. If you need safety nets, turn to Pro Netting Essex Limited LTD. We offer a wide variety of safety netting, such as roofing nets. We also provide airbags.