OHS Hazards & Controls
Prior to commencing any task that requires working from heights the following steps can help identify potential small falling object hazards.
- Look for any environmental factors such as wind, rain, drafts, heat etc.
- Identify sources of energy that can cause falling objects for example gravity, mechanical movement, electrical, pressurised equipment and vibration.
- Prior to starting work visually inspect the area for preexisting hazards such as a debris and loose items.
- Make sure all safety securing features are in use.
- Look for any collision or snagging hazard with fixtures and in particular moving or rotating machinery.
- Pay special attention to corroded bolts and brackets
- Check what controls are in place for example: scaffolding, toe boards, barriers, netting, etc.
- Inspect all equipment and tools for damage, attachment points, lanyards, lift buckets, ropes and tool belts.
- Remove any loose items or equipment
When working at heights, examples to eliminate small falling object hazards include:
-Remove debris from the work area prior to commencing work
-If there is any energy sources in the work area, such as mechanical rotation, if possible turn them off prior to starting the job.
-If environmental conditions pose a source of danger, such as strong winds, consider rescheduling work.
There are a number of engineering controls to minimise risks of falling objects, examples include:
-Temporary work platforms, perimeter guard rails, safety mesh, industrial rope access systems, catch platforms, industrial safety nets, toe boards and rails. For more information refer to Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces, Safe Work Australia (2011).
Hazards can be substituted for ones that pose a lower risk. Examples include:
– Consider prefabricating components at ground level and hoist into place.
– Investigate the possibility of substituting ladders for elevated work platform
PPE is only to be used as a last resort to control risks, examples include:
-Hard hats and steel capped boots.
– Individual fall arrest systems, such as harnesses, lifelines, etc. For more information refer to Managing
the Risk of Falls at Workplaces, Safe Work Australia (2011).
When working at heights, administrative controls should be implemented, examples include:
– “No Go” areas that prohibit unauthorised people from entering areas. Permit systems can also be used to restrict access.
– Sequence work to reduce risk, for example so trades are not working above and below each other at the same time.
-Staff training, risk assessment and safe work procedures.