Working at Height

Summary

Explore our comprehensive guide on safe working at height, covering essential safety measures, equipment, and regulations. Learn expert tips to ensure the safety of workers and prevent accidents in high-risk environments. Whether you're overseeing construction, maintenance, or any task above ground, this article provides crucial insights for creating a safer workplace.

Working at Height – Fall arrest and work restraint are two systems used in workplace safety to prevent or mitigate the risks associated with falls from height.

Here’s the primary difference between the two for systems whilst working at height:

Fall Arrest Systems – are designed to stop a fall that is already occurring. They don’t prevent the fall from happening but aim to safely stop the fall before the worker hits the ground or encounters a lower level of the structure.

A fall arrest system typically includes a harness, a lanyard, and an anchor point. These systems are critical when workers are exposed to falls of six feet or more. The idea is to minimise the injury during a fall by absorbing the energy generated and suspending the worker in their harness until rescue.

Fall Arrest Systems

Work Restraint Systems – are preventative measures that stop a worker from reaching a point where they could fall. They essentially restrain or limit the movement of the worker to prevent them from getting too close to an unprotected edge.

Work restraint systems can include a combination of guardrails, safety nets, or personal restraint devices, such as a harness connected to a lanyard, which in turn is attached to an anchor point. The length of the lanyard is adjusted so the worker cannot reach the fall hazard.

Work Restraint Systems

The key difference lies in their purpose and application for working at height:

Fall arrest – is reactive, kicking into action during a fall to mitigate the impact and consequences.

Work restraint – is proactive, preventing the fall from occurring in the first place.

Choosing between a fall arrest and a work restraint system depends on the work environment, work type, and risk assessment outcomes. In some scenarios, a combination of both systems may be employed to ensure the highest level of safety for workers operating at heights.

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