Safemaster Height Safety Solutions recommend the following work at height techniques if a full risk assessment and work method statement determines the need to use personal protective equipment.
It is important that all personnel using personal protective equipment at heights is trained in the proper use and limitations of their equipment.
Firstly, fall restraint is the preferred approach to fall protection. It prevents the worker from falling and suffering possible injury and is a technique which uses personal protective equipment to prevent a person from entering an area where a risk of fall from height exists.
Secondly, work positioning is a technique for supporting a person while working, by means of personal protective equipment in tension in such a way as to prevent a fall.
Another approach to using personal protective equipment for height safety is fall arrest. This is an approach which makes use of items of personal protective equipment to stop a falling person under safe conditions. This means that if a worker is in a position such that if he loses control he will fall, he is required to use personal protective equipment to limit both the distance and force of that fall.
Safemaster Height Safety Solutions also recommend additional specialist techniques and information for consideration when working at heights.
Firstly, having an emergency plan is vital. AS 1891.4 states that the rescue of a fallen worker must occur as soon as possible, as does the National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls from Heights in Construction Work.
It also recommends that a person should not use a fall arrest system unless there is at least one other person on site who can rescue the user in the event of a fall. In some situations, at
least two persons may be required to safely rescue a person who has had a fall, which requires specific training.
Safe access and egress from confined spaces also requires careful planning. When access and egress also includes the potential for falls, then it is considered as work at height. In all cases rescue and recovery must be planned, and the personnel be trained in emergency procedures. Furthermore, all personnel using personal protective equipment at height must be trained in the proper use and limitations of their equipment.
Finally, an often overlooked hazard is that of fall clearances. It is important to consider if there is sufficient distance beneath the user to ensure they do not hit a lower level, or the ground, before the fall arrest system is fully deployed.