Around 18% of the accidents occurring in Canada in the major economic sectors concern falls from heights. Each day on construction sites, two people on average are victims of falls, which can lead to death—hence the necessity of taking all the necessary steps, including setting up all the equipment for working at heights that ensures the protection of the workers. If the configuration of the premises and the nature of the work and the fall risks permit it, fall prevention solutions should be used instead of fall arrest devices in order to reduce or even eliminate the risks of falling. Here are 11 essential pieces of safety equipment for working at height.
Fall protection measures
The goal of fall restraint devices is to eliminate or—at the very least—substantially reduce fall risks. These solutions include positioning systems with belts that make it possible to work stably by preventing the risk of falling.
- Fixed guardrails: They are installed on a fixed point, where increased safety protection is required.
- Caged ladders: They protect workers who access work areas located at height.
- Individuals fixed anchor points: These secured attachment points can support the loads of the fall protection device.
- Light shafts: They are used to secure the passage of obstacles such as ventilation ducts or firewalls.
- Lifelines: Used when the configuration of the premises makes it impossible to install collective protection to perform work at height, they serve to ensure the protection of the staff working at height. Their shock absorber helps limit impacts to the ends in the event of a fall.
- Self-supporting guardrails: If the configuration of the premises doesn’t allow you to attach fixed guardrails to the terrace or acroterion or you want to avoid perforating the roof membrane, it’s possible to use self-supporting guardrails.
- Dead weight anchors: These are a type of self-supporting fall protection that can be used temporarily or permanently. Dead body anchors can be installed on gently sloping asphalt, concrete, or gravel roofs and don’t require the piercing of the terrace.
Fall arrest systems
- Harnesses: Wearing a harness with a leg and shoulder strap connected to an anchor device protects the worker by stopping their fall before they hit the ground.
- Fall arrest lanyards: Ensuring the connection between the anchor point and the harness, the lanyard makes it possible to arrest a potential fall and brake it by absorbing the forces produced on the body.
- Reels: They also serve as a connection between the anchor point and the harness to arrest a potential fall, brake it, and absorb the forces produced on the body. Comparable to seat belt systems, they automatically wind up and stop the fall after a short stopping distance.
- Ropes with blockers: Used as protection on the path of ascension, these ropes feature a sliding blocker that triggers after a short stopping distance in the event of a fall.
Working at height is extremely dangerous, and it’s essential to protect workers at height by using fall prevention devices rather than fall arrest systems whenever possible. But to ensure maximum safety for the workers, other steps must also be taken: the staff must be properly trained, and the equipment must be regularly inspected.
Delta Prevention is a manufacturer of non-penetrating fall protection equipment for rooftop. With innovative materials and industry leading versatility, Delta Prevention’s VSS System is the safest and most durable collective fall protection system on the market. Visit our website at deltaprevention.com