In this blog, Michael discusses falls risk management. We recommend to to watch the video to get a full explanation to this topic. You can also read the transcript below.
When it comes to identifying hazards, you can use the same types of processes that we usually do. You need to consult with your workers and ask them where they think the main falls risks are.
One of the main things that you should try and do here is look at your workplace inspection checklists. These are used to look for different hazards in the workplace and it’s a great chance for identifying any potential trip hazards.
One of the main things that you need to watch out for when it comes to falls is obviously heights. Heights is where you’re likely going to have your most serious falls. Because of this, you should look for any area or any place where a worker is working at any height, and the greater the height, the greater his risk there is going to be.
The other one to look out for is slopes, particularly rooftops and those sorts of things. A slope might not be particularly high but the fact that it’s not on straight angle does increase the risk of a fall.
When it comes to risk assessment tools for falls management, there is not one specific risk assessment tool. You can just go ahead and use the generic or standard risk assessment tool that you have in the work place that tends to do the job pretty well.
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 put some good control measures in place for reducing the risk of hurting ourselves from falls. To do this, you should use the hierarchy of control.
When referring to this hierarchy of controls, the first thing you may ask is “Can we eliminate the risk completely?”
What you’re looking at here is can you make sure the work is done on solid ground where possible. Oftentimes you can use things like extendable or telescopic cleaners to get to a height so that you don’t actually have to be up there. This means you can be standing safely on the ground and using some sort of extension to perform that heights work that you need to.
Where that’s not possible, you need to look at options for working on a solid surface. This could include things like work platforms, scissor lifts, or making sure that whatever surface you’re working on is appropriately protected from an edge protection point of view.
You can see some good examples of engineering controls from the video above.
When it comes to administrative controls, you need to think about things like training workers in working at heights which may involve them going on specific working at heights training courses.
You also need to have, where we are not controlling your risks appropriately, a work permit. Work permits are used for things like working at heights and other particular hazardous areas.
They make sure you are comprehensive in your approach to making sure that you’ve got the appropriate administrative controls into place. A person will not be able to go and start working at heights until they have completed the work permit and you make sure you have the appropriate controls in place.
You should be using work permits for high risk falls and of course, built into all these controls is going to be some PPE options as well. We might be looking at lanyards and appropriate fall arrest systems.
- You must be comprehensive in your approach for identifying hazards for falls
- You must control risk falls for hazardous chemicals
- Control measures via work on solid surface where possible
- Consider work permit where administrative controls are used