Risk of falls

Two weeks ago, my cousin posted on Facebook a photo of herself trimming a hedge that surrounds her unit. She was standing on a plastic garden chair, so I sent her a message. I told her that as a nurse, she should know better than to use a chair to stand on and she should use a platform ladder instead. The replies I received were for me to pull my head in, as it’s only a chair and I should stop being a safety nerd. Last week I took my daughter to afterschool care and noticed the director was absent. I asked a staff member where she was and was told she was in the hospital. She had been standing on a chair in her kitchen, had fallen off and broken her back when she impacted the floor. She too probably thought, it’s only a chair, what could go wrong. Now imagine your co-workers and family. What would you do and how would you cope, if a work or family member was permanently incapacitated or killed, because they had a completely preventable fall. Take the time to stop and think about the consequences before carrying out any work at height. In Australia between 2012 and 2016, 132 workers were killed falling from height. Don’t let yourself become a statistic. Only use approved equipment when carrying out any work that involves working at height, and follow the practical guidance found in the Code of Practice for managing the risk of falls in the workplace. Cheers, Nick Lines

Working at height can be dangerous, so how do you keep safe?

Take training courses

The construction industry requires its workers to undergo ‘Work Safely at Heights’ training. A course such as this is one of the most important OHS training courses you will ever attend, and it may help you save your life.

Furthermore, there is a ‘Working at Heights’ awareness program that will provide you with a detailed description of the dangers associated with performing tasks at an elevated level.

A number of case studies will be discussed, so you can get a sense of how the safety tips you learn can actually be applied in real-life situations. The course covers everything from the main causes of falls and how to manage them, to safety tips for working on scaffolding and ladders.

Manage risks by learning how to do so

Safety equipment must be worn at all times on construction sites. It is also important that all health and safety risks in the area are eliminated or, if this is not possible, reduced before you begin work.

Organising a comprehensive risk management strategy ensures you’ve covered all your bases. Many workplaces across the country require this to keep employees safe in most environments.

The following steps are generally included in a risk management strategy:

Make sure the workplace is free of hazards. Make sure you take into account who will be onsite, where they are coming from, and how they might get injured.
Determine how dangerous such hazards are. Determine whether the hazards you have identified are likely to cause injury to someone.
Make the hazards safer by removing them or controlling them. Consider what measures might be instituted to prevent this from happening and how they might be implemented.

The risk management strategy for your business needs to be reviewed regularly to make sure that it’s always relevant to what’s going on in the market. To ensure that your work systems and equipment are functioning properly, you should also have an inspection and maintenance process in place.

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