Working at heights
Falls are one of the main causes of injuries and fatalities at workplaces. It is therefore important that the employer surveys hazards and assesses the risks involved so that work can be performed safely.
Examples of work at heights are work on roofs and on ladders, work on platforms and in scaffolding, work in lifts and work on fragile surfaces where there is a danger of falling through.
Try to avoid employees needing to work at heights. If this is not possible, ensure that the work has as short a duration as possible.
Lowering the risk of falls
Here are some simple accident prevention guidelines for working at heights:
If you cannot avoid working at heights, choose workplaces that are already secure.
Make sure that work at heights is carried out safely, using the right equipment from a satisfactory surface.
Use collective fall protection, such as guard rails, rather than individual fall protection equipment.
Make a risk assessment
Survey and assess risks associated with the work and the workplace. If the survey and assessment show that work can be carried out without anyone needing to work at heights, you should do so.
If the assessment shows that there is no alternative to working at heights, the employer must plan and organise the work so that safety is taken care of. Make sure that the planning is carried out by competent specialists.
Read more about risk assessment (In Norwegian only)
Use the right equipment
Equipment for working at heights such as scaffolding, lifts, etc. must be dimensioned for the work to be carried out and for predictable loads. On the basis of a risk assessment, the employer must implement measures appropriate for reducing the risk the workers are exposed to when using this equipment. At locations where there are special hazards such as difficult weather conditions, traffic, live cables and the like, special safety measures shall be implemented before equipment for working at heights is installed and taken into service.
Select the most appropriate access route to temporary work at heights on the basis of the following conditions, among others:
how often the workers move
the height of the access route
how long it is in use
It must be possible to use the access route for evacuation in an emergency situation.
Tips for increasing the safety of work at heights
Carry out as much as possible of the work on the ground.
Place the access as close as possible to the work location.
Ensure that the workers can safely get to and from the work location. Use a stair tower for access.
Make sure that the equipment for working at heights is suitable, has sufficient stability and strength, is properly maintained and is regularly inspected.
Ensure that the equipment is checked before being taken into service. Equipment that is out of order must be removed from service.
Plan the storage location for the work. The storage location is part of the work site.
Use lifting equipment/cranes for transporting /lifting materials. Be careful to avoid overloading and overstretching.
Show particular regard for fragile surfaces and platforms.
Provide for collective protection against falling objects.
Satisfactory lighting makes work easier and safer.
A tidy workplace is a safer one.
Assess routines and measures for emergency evacuation and rescue operations.