Following on from the CHAS article on keeping up with technology to prevent falls and improve safety during fence installations, QAB Systems have released more advice for AFI members.
So what really are the options available?
If we look at the normal hierarchy of control for hazards, it doesn’t fit the fence installation tasks very well:
- Engineering controls
- Administrative controls
The hierarchy of control we normally apply for working at height is as follows:
- Avoid (avoid working at height where possible by finding safer alternative or engineering out the hazard)
- Prevent (prevent falls by having a safe working platform with a handrail or collective fall prevention system)
- Minimise (minimise the fall distance and the consequence of the fall by using appropriate fall protective PPE)
Fence installers of welded mesh systems cannot avoid working at height due to the nature of the job. Workers may not consider 3 metres very far to fall, but if you land on your head or neck from such a height, the likelihood of death or life changing injuries is extremely high. Watch the following Jason Anker video for the effects of not working safely at height – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1REznDtIyCA
Here’s the reality check
If you are working off ladders, is the ladder secured to the fence? Probably not. Are you wearing a fall arrest harness? Probably not. Do you have air bags or catch nets to reduce the injury if you fall off the ladder? Probably not!
The requirement to go home to your family after work, safe and uninjured is YOURS and YOUR employers responsibility, don’t settle for poor access planning.
Other methods of access to consider are:
- Mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP) – but these can be expensive and require ground surveys to locate culverts or underground services that may be damaged or overturn the MEWP.
- Scaffolds – but it is time consuming to erect, costly and not easily moved on rough terrain.
Alternative access methods have been available for a number of years and are improving to suit the industry. QAB Systems provides a range of such devices for attaching fall prevention equipment to keep installers safe whilst working on or installing high security 358 welded mesh. They have brackets for stabilising ladders and the most basic of fall protection in the form of a cost effective harness, positioning lanyard and anchor bracket. Inline with industry best practice QAB have anodized different colour brackets to separate lifting brackets from fall prevention brackets.
Not only do QAB Systems provide safe access and lift brackets, they also provide a vast range of harnesses and fall prevention equipment from the industry’s top manufacturers.
DON’T SETTLE FOR POOR LIFTING AND ACCESS PLANS!