43.4% of accidents in Malaysia that were recorded from 2013 to 2018 were falling from heights. Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. Working at height is one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths or injuries in our industry around the world.
As various tasks in the industry may involve working at height, it is important to know how to keep the workers and workplace are safe. Let's start by asking, 'What is the definition of working at height?'
'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, a fall through a fragile roof).
The prescribed distance to be considered as working at height differs among countries. For example, a regulation in Malaysia prescribed this distance as 10 feet, while in the UK, Singapore and Australia, the prescribed distance is 2 meters. In New Zealand and Singapore, the prescribed distance is 3 meters.
Working four feet or higher off the ground puts workers at a greater risk of falling, but anything capable of causing you to lose balance and fall is a hazard.
Work at Height includes works;
- in or on an elevated place of work, for example, on a ladder or a flat roof from which a person could fall;
- in the vicinity of an opening through which a person could fall;
- in the vicinity of an edge over which a person could fall; or
- in any other place (whether above or below ground), for example, falls through a fragile surface, from which a person could fall, from one level to another.
Without awareness, ability to access, installing and identify the right requirements of the job, a person is exposed to risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury.
Examples of Work at Height:
- Working on platform such as scaffolding, tower, skylift, gondola or roof
- Works that required the use of rope and/or ladder such as painting, installing large signage or exterior building cleaning
Most fall from height accidents will affect the individual, such as permanent disabilities, worker fatalities, and even affect the psychology of workers. As the outcome is quite devastating, a preventive and mitigation measures must be proposed and implemented. In order to implement effectively, a work area needs a thorough assessment of potential hazards that can lead to accidents.
Causes of Falls from Heights
- Individual Attitude: Failed to wear PPE, improper use of equipment, use of damaged equipment, incorrect positioning and posture while working, negligence toward safety rules
- Management Commitment: Failure to provide adequate PPE equipment and safety equipment, lack of exposure to safety training and orientation, abandoned the safety policies, lack of safety monitoring
- Workplace Condition: Poor site housekeeping, bad weather, crowded working space, poor warning signage
- Communication Barrier: Unclear information provided, language barrier (speaking, writing and reading), poor understanding of signage, poor communication among safety officers and employees
To ensure employees are able to work at height safely, basic and necessary preventive measure should be taken to prevent and avoid accidents. Attending appropriate training could equip employees with awareness about the hazards (including object falling from height), controls that must be in place and proper PPE they must wear whilst working at height.
There are various levels and types of working at height training available. This training can help all related parties to minimise the consequences should one actually fall from height or need to be rescued.
E-learning speeds up the process for learners who go at a quicker pace, saving time and resources for the ultimate in efficiency. E-learning can also allow learners to test out of material they've already learned, also saving time.
To find available e-learning for Working at Height, click here.
The course is available in the following languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, German, Bahasa Melayu, Dutch, Indonesian, Thai, and Danish
Training at Centre
There are 3 levels of Working at Height Training at MSTS Asia's training centres which are:
- Working at Height Level 1 [Download Course Information here]
- Working at Height Level 2 [Download Course Information here]
- Working at Height Level 3 / Rescue [Download Course Information here]
Locations for Working at Height Training: