Working at heights – How to choose right personnel for safe works
As high-rise commercial and residential buildings dotting the skylines of developed and developing nations, there is indeed a great demand for people who can climb on peak towers and do maintenance and repair works swiftly and safely.
Working at heights has evolved significantly in the modern era, thanks to the advancement in technology which has made the tasks easy, reliable, fast, environment friendly and above all, safe for workers. There are regulations and safety practices which have made companies and contractors offering such services to building owners to follow all safety procedures and standards while carrying out works at dangerous peaks.
One of the most dependable and widely adopted methods is ‘rope access’ technique, where a pair of ropes is used to climb and descend from heights safely and also carry items to any floor of the towers without any difficulty and risks. These ropes provide protection to workers from falling thereby reducing the risks to a great extent.
Types of works and risks
There are various needs for which employers call for people who can undertake works at dangerous and inhospitable elevations and towers. Some of them are: to inspect and carry out works on bridges and high platforms; Working on roofs, slopes, facades and sides of the high-rise buildings for repair or maintenance tasks; Carrying out construction activities at risky heights and Transporting/lifting heavy equipments and materials to top floors.
Some of the associated risks people who are working at heights face are trip and fall while carrying out painting or other maintenance works, coming in contact with live wire or hot surfaces, poisonous gases, high altitude sickness, injuries caused by honeybees or birds, improper usage of protective tools and equipments and not adhering to safe practices.
Responsibilities of employers
Those who are employing workers for high-rise works should ensure that all safety precautions are taken, quality work tools and safety equipments are used, license obtained from authorities and workers are adequately insured. Those who are used to perform working at heights should have sound health, adequately trained to work at elevated platforms, capable of using work-related tools efficiently, understand the risks and dangers and follow all safe practices and procedures.
As far as supervisors and safety managers are concerned, they must identify, analyze, assess and control the risks workers have to face.
They should also ensure that workers are not left alone but should be under the surveillance or guidance of experienced colleagues who should be trained to act fast in case of emergency.
Also, the supervisors should be ready for rescue and retrieval, and prior to work, should have studied the area to reduce potential risks and ensure maximum safety to workers.
For employers, they should engage quality personnel for their building works after checking the background and proven records of the company to be engaged, safety standards used, qualification of employees engaged and feedbacks from the previous work sources.
As the profession is challenging and lucrative, getting a degree or diploma in working at heights is not a bad idea for young career seekers.