Working At Height Safely

Working At Height Safely

In the UK alone there are thousands of injuries every year as a result of dropped objects. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Reported that in 2016/2017, 10% of non-fatal injuries to employees were as a result of being struck by an object, with a further 7% of injuries as a result of a fall from height. (1)

Even the greatest optimist would agree, there will always be instances where external factors such as user error, equipment failure, and environmental variations would still play a role in incidents, however there is a still lot that can be done to help alleviate the potential for incidents to take place.

It is becoming a more common practice throughout industry for those working on ‘at height’ applications to use tethers on their tools, to avoid potential injury to the operator and anyone around them, as well as potential damage or loss of equipment.

Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)

The purpose of WAHR is to prevent death and injury from a fall from height. Work at height means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.

Fall protection violations reached number one on OSHA’s list of violations for 2015 with 7,402. This category includes both tools and people, as fall protection refers to anything that can fall.

Focus on preventing objects from falling should be similar to the regulations around protecting people working at height, as objects as small as a mobile phone and tape measure, when dropped from a height, can cause serious injuries to persons should the objects fall. (3)

The Avoidance of Risk

While it is not a legal requirement to tether all tools, in the ‘Avoidance of Risks’ section from the Working At Height Regulations 2005, states that where reasonably practicable, every employer shall take account of a risk assessment under regulation 3 and also states that, where reasonably practicable, work should be carried out in an environment that avoids the need for working at height. In addition, the legislation also stipulates that:

“Where it is not reasonably practicable for the work to be carried out… his providing sufficient work equipment for preventing, as is reasonably practicable, a fall occurring. Where the measures taken do not eliminate the risk of a fall occurring, every employer shall, as is reasonably practicable, provide sufficient work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall” (2)

With this in mind, a lot of companies have begun to look at the way in which their tooling may be used, and adapted the equipment to include safety updates.

5 Simple Rules

When following a dropped object prevention scheme, there are five simple rules that can be followed:

  1. Ensure lanyards, attachment points and wristbands allow use of the tool with little to no interference.
  2. To maintain tool’s functionality, modifications shouldn’t be required to effectively attach them. Products such as D-rings, self-vulcanizing tape, tool cinch attachments and quick spins can complement the design and functionality of the tool without altering them.
  3. Tools over five pounds should be secured to a fixed structure or anchor point approved by the site and that is safe to use as a tether.
  4. Notice of the ‘load rating’ should be adhered to. For example, if a tether that is load rated for five pounds is connected to an attachment point rated for two pounds, the load rating or the lesser of the two components should be followed.
  5. Be brand loyal because systems often are built and designed to work together for maximum effectiveness. (3)

Important Safety Advances

All too often, companies only invest in safety after a tragic event occurs. Although industry now recognises the hazards of working at height. Focus should now be shifted to realising that dropped objects must be addressed before an incident to help improve the personal safety of workers while working at height.

At HTL we pride ourselves on designing equipment with both the operator and job site safety at the forefront.

A great example of this is our DSX Square Drive Wrench range, which has been designed in-house, UK manufactured, and includes:

  • A fully retained reaction arm, which remains connected to the tool whilst it is adjusted
  • A working at height connection point designed to reduce dropped objects
  • Comes with a Safety Handle that is supplied as standard
  • Stainless Steel Coupler
Adding to our dedication to safety, The HTL Group now supply Hands Free Bolting’s accessories. Easy to use with HTL’s OEM range of Controlled Bolting Equipment, the safety accessories dramatically reduces the risk of dropped objects and hand related injuries, improving job-site safety. The range includes The No-Flog® 2, Back-Up Nut, Safety Valve, Tool Handle and Safety Tethers.

For more information on our ever-increasing range of products and services, please contact HTL, email or call +44 (0)1670 700 000.