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Steps to Prevent Hazards Associated with Falling Object and Protection during Overhead Work – Review

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By
Sreenivasa Hassan Jayaram
Manager-Projects, Jones Lang LaSalle India, Bangalore, Karnataka

Anytime work is being performed overhead where others may be working or walking below, regardless if work is being performed from a scaffold, platform or ladder. Steps shall be taken to prevent hazards associated with falling objects.

  • Toe boards shall be used on working platforms and scaffolds over 6 feet (1.8m) in height.
  • Materials shall not be allowed to accumulate next to the edge of the work platform without a means to prevent objects from falling into the area below.
  • Access to the lower area shall be restricted to protect workers or pedestrians in the area.
  • Tools and materials shall be secured either through tethering or other means if they may be dropped to the lower level.

Safety is every one’s responsibility, the following are the key points to prevent the falling from height.

Roles and Responsibilities at the work place.
Each and Every one at the workplace is accountable for safety. The responsibilities differ, depending on the job,site, task, who is in control of the site or the job and whether the person has duties as an tenant, an employer or an employee. For each job it needs to be decided who has specific responsibilities for particular tasks so a safe work environment can be maintained at all times. Persons who manage or control workplaces must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the workplace and the means of entering and leaving it are safe and without risks to health. With all these responsibilities there will be times when duty holders other than employers will also have specific responsibilities to ensure fall prevention measures are put in place, used correctly as intended and maintained.

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Categorize the Fall Hazards Areas
Employers must identify all tasks that involve the possibility of someone falling more than two meters. Tasks may include construction, destruction, repairs or maintenance on any structure. Work on unstable surfaces, work on sloping or slippery surfaces, work near an edge, hole, pit or shaft. To assist with identifying the above tasks employers must have a good knowledge about fall hazards.

Sense the Risks and Circumstances Where Someone May Fall From Height
For each task identified above, duty holders need to determine whether there is a risk of a fall from height and consider the circumstances that may increase the risk of a fall. An assessment has to be made. Things that should be considered includethe nature, size and layout of the workplace, the duration, extent and type of work to be undertaken. If an assessment shows a risk of a fall from height, or if the work is to be conducted at a height of more than two meters, then precautions need to be put in place to stop someone falling. If it’s not reasonably practicable to take measures to eliminate the risk of a fall from height, then precautions are needed to reduce the likelihood of a fall and/or the person being injured.

Safety Measures to Prevent a Fall or Reduce the Risk
Where the fall height is greater than two metres, to minimize risk as far as is reasonably practicable, Fall Restraint, Fall Arrester or change of work procedure is required.

Implement Fall Prevention Measures
Where it is determined there is a risk of a person falling from height it is required to implement measures that control the risk as far as is reasonably practicable. This requirement includes providing adequate instruction, information and training to staff.

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Reference and Acknowledgement
[1] Basic Steps to Prevent Falls from Heights, 1st Edition, June 2005 https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

[2] Working At Height Guidelines, Version II, 21st September 2011 http://www.mic.ul.ie/adminservices/policies

We at engineeringcivil.com are thankful to Sir Sreenivasa Hassan Jayaram for submitting this paper to us.

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