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Working At Height - Fall Arrest - Floorspan Contracts
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Working at Height - Fall Arrest

The Health & Safety Executive sets out the proper protocols and practises for working on a construction site. Some of you might not have read and memorised every word that the HSE has ever published. For those unlucky few, we have summarised what the HSE says about working at height in construction. 

Work at height means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. For example, you are working at height if you:

  • are working on a ladder or a flat roof;
  • could fall through a fragile surface;
  • could fall into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground.
 
That seems pretty vague. As a rule of thumb, anything over about 2 metres and you need a fall arrest. 
 
The other thing that HSE stress is that you shouldn’t work at height unless absolutely necessary. The below slider explains this process.

Avoid

Can you avoid working at height in the first place? If NO, Go to Prevent

- Do as much work as possible from the ground

Prevent

Can you PREVENT a fall from occuring? If NO, go to minimise

- Using an existing place of work that is already safe, e.g a nonfragile roof with a permanent perimeter guard rail or, if not
- Using work equipment to prevent people from falling

Minimise

Can you Minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall?

- If the risk of a person falling remains, you must take sufficient measures to minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall

When do you need Fall Arrest for Precast Concrete Flooring?

Often, our customers project full firmly in the ‘minimize’ category. This most often comes up with 1st or 2nd floor hollowcore plank installs. Although in some cases, it is necessary to use fall arrest around a lorry.

Types of fall arrest available

Safety Nets

 Safety nets are used a lot in in the construction industry. They work as you would imagine, if you fall, there is a net to catch you! 

Pros

– These nets are great at catching tools and other debris 
– Does not restrict movement on the ground
– Effective and recognised fall arrest

Cons

– Reasonably expensive 
– Not always practical. Depends a lot on the site in question

netting

Air Bags

Floorspan Heath Farm-42
Pros

– Flexibility
– Easy to use and maintain
– Causes minimal damage to new masonry

Cons

– Not effective for larger falls
– Can be obtrusive at ground level

Safe Decking / Platform Decking / Crash Desk

Floorspan Heath Farm-2
Pros

 – Can be fitted in to almost any area
 – Provides working platform

Cons

– Expensive
– Can be obtrusive at ground level

Learn More About Fall Arrest

Below are some additional resources about fall arrest and working at heights that you might find useful.

https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg401.pdf

https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/health-and-safety/working-at-height/

 

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