Causes of falls
Let’s face it we all take risks when comes to working off of the back of a lorry, but please stop. Falling a shorter distance may shorten your chance of a more serious injury but does not prevent it ever occurring!!! Take the time to manage your time and your operatives time on the back of your work vehicle by conducting Tool box talks on the subject and ensure that staff are aware of the importance of working safely.
So how do we do it? Well simply it’s up to you, you can only do this via a risk assessment and consultation with your work force to find out the best method of working at height. However here are some techniques the HSE advise you could adopt
Controlling the Risk
Using gauges and controls that are accessible from the ground helps to eliminate the risk of falls. For example, where a road tanker delivers fuel to a petrol station, the employer of the delivery driver and the station operator should consider whether the drive needs to go onto the top of the vehicle to ‘dip’ or if the level of fuel can be measured from the ground.
Automatic sheeting systems (often known as ‘easysheets’) are another example of an effective way of avoiding the need for workers to climb on vehicles.
Only give permission to gain access on to vehicles to people who cannot avoid doing so.
If the work at height cannot be avoided, it is best for people to be protected by equipment and site or vehicle features that prevent falls. If equipment to prevent falls is used, the best solutions are those that protect everyone, not just individuals. If only one person is at risk, harness systems, for example, might be most appropriate.
Instruct and train workers to use the work equipment competently, and provide information for workers. Safe ways of working should always be part of managing risks.
Assess how much light there is for people climbing into or on to vehicles, or walking on vehicles. Poor visibility can lead to accidents. Hand-held lights or torches would not normally be an effective way of lighting places where people need to use their hands.
People climbing on to vehicles or other structures should always use the ‘three-point hold’ rule. This means they should try to keep at least three points of contact with the vehicle they are climbing (with their hands and feet), moving one limb at a time and testing the new hold before moving on. Looping an elbow around a support is not a secure enough hold – people should use their hands to grasp supports. The three-point hold rule is less important for people using stairs, although handholds are still important.
Tasks done from ladders or steps should allow the worker to keep the centre of their body between the sides of the ladder or steps, and both feet on the same rung or step. Only tasks that are of a short duration and are low risk should be done from ladders.
Take your time and plan the working tasks with the most appropriate method available, just because it’s not listed above does not mean that it is not available.
Do not become another statistic!!!!