12 Jul 16
Six Tips for Safely Working at Heights
When working at heights, tethering tools and equipment should never be an afterthought. We all know the old “penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building” math. Add a few more pounds and a spike, and you’ve got an incredibly dangerous situation on your hands. Even something as benign as a bolt (or a penny) can become deadly with enough vertical velocity.
If your next job is six feet or more off the ground, read these six tips to get your gear tethered and organized.
Get It Together
- The first step is knowing and assessing the tools and equipment you’re bringing to heights. If your tool doesn’t have a secure connection point for tethering, you can create a retro-fit tethering solution using tool connectors. Choose a loop for a more permanent connection and a carabiner for when you need to exchange tools quickly.
- Consult your jobsite’s Competent Person, Qualified Person or Safety Manager to find appropriate anchor points for tethered tools. Remember these tips when anchoring:
- Do not attach a lanyard’s connector to a D-ring actively being used for fall protection or positioning.
- Do not connect to breakaway connections, like lanyard keepers, when tethering a tool to your body harness.
- Connect to a separate anchor point and not the worker. If unavoidable, never connect a tool weighing more than 10lbs (4.5kg) to a worker.
- Use lanyards with shock-absorbing characteristics.
- Select lanyards are labeled with capacity, manufacturer information, and warnings. Choose a lanyard that will still enable the tool to be used safely and effectively.
Hoisting vs. Carrying
- Hoist tools and equipment whenever possible. The container and handle must be individually rated for the intended load. And if you can, use mechanical means for hoisting.
- You may carry small tools and equipment as long as you are able to maintain three points of contact when climbing at all times.
- Use 100 percent tie-off when transferring tethered tools to another container or a fellow worker.
- If that’s not an option, transfer carefully over a platform to prevent tools from falling.
Inspect Your Gadget(s)
- Inspect your O@H equipment daily, before and after each use, and designate a competent person to conduct monthly inspections of O@H equipment.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a safer workzone in the sky.