Working at heights can be daunting, especially when you know there is a risk of falling. With or without fall arresting equipment, it can be a scary position to be in. However, the risk of working at heights should never be taken without the right equipment.
Safety Services Direct has many years of experience when it comes to ensuring that employees are properly trained and protected from safety risks. So we have put together this guide on fall protection equipment and working safely at heights. Keep reading to find out at what height you need to be equipped and what equipment you need to work at heights with confidence.
At What Height Do You Need A Fall Arrest System?
In the UK, workers are legally protected from unnecessary risks at work. These laws are in place to protect employees from dangerous situations and the risk of injury. In order to mitigate this ever-present risk, workers must have fall arrestor equipment when working at heights of 3m or higher.
Note: If you or your employees are working from heights, check out our working from heights training course to ensure that your organisation is legally compliant and safe.
What Equipment Is Required For Fall Protection?
There are three main types of fall arrest systems. The use of these differs from industry to industry and from situation to situation. Here are the three main options that should be considered when working from heights above 3m.
Personal fall arrest systems
A personal fall arrest system is an individual piece of equipment that will arrest your fall if you should drop down. These systems include a body harness or body belt, anchorage and connectors. These systems are used when working well above 3m, as you will still drop for the length of the hardness or anchorage, and it is important not to touch the ground when doing so.
Guardrails are a fall protection system that doesn’t require workers to wear personal protection or be trained in use. Much like a handrail on a staircase, guardrails protect workers from falling. In the UK, guardrails must be capable of withstanding at least 200 pounds of force within two inches of the top, along any point of the guardrail. This ensures that it can hold out against the weight of an average man, which is 183 pounds in the UK.
Safety net systems
A safety net system is a passive fall protection option and should only be considered as an additional safety measure. Safety nets can be used to catch a falling worker or as a barrier. But seeing as nets only decrease the fall distance and reduce the likelihood of serious injury, they should be used in conjunction with guardrail systems so that if one doesn’t work, the other will.
Final Thoughts On Fall Arrestor Equipment
When working from heights, it is crucial that your safety is taken into account. Unfortunately, even falls from heights below the legal height can be dangerous and even fatal, so it is best to install guardrails at all heights as a preventative measure.