Introduction to the right fall protection
According to the Czech Statistical Office, about 45,000 people injure themselves at work each year in the Czech Republic. Is the culprit non-compliance with legislation, inadequate safety equipment or excessive risk-taking? Perhaps all of the above, but a big risk also lies in underestimating. This is especially true for work at heights.
Where does work at heights begin?
According to bozpinfo.cz - a professional portal for OHS, there were 16 fatal accidents in 2016 due to falling from heights at work. At least half of these cases were caused by poor safeguarding and a failure to use PPE. In order to avoid such errors, you must first know where work at heights begins.
According to Government Regulation No. 362/2005 Coll., a workplace above 1.5 m above ground is already considered work at heights.
What is work at heights according to the Government Regulation:
- If the workplace or road lies 1.5 m above the level of the surrounding area or a free depth exceeds 1.5 m.
- If works are performed on ladders and movable working platforms at a height greater than 5 m.
If the workplace corresponds to these conditions, the employer is obliged to ensure protection. It may be either:
- Collective protection: Securing against falling by means of a technical structure - e.g. guard rails, covers, scaffoldings, nets;
- Personal protective equipment against fall - harness, rope, helmet, etc.
Personal protective equipment is useful when collective protection cannot be used. It may be due to the duration of works, their scope, the number of employees or the risk of mutual harm to employees.
What legislation also says
Work at heights and above a free depth may be performed only by employees that are professionally competent and in good health condition.
Medical eligibility for work at heights above 10 m is dealt with in Decree No. 79/2013 Coll., on regular medical check-ups of employees.
- Up to 50 years of age, once every 4 years,
- above 50 years of age, once every 2 years.
Professionally competent employees are those who undergo regular training on OHS aimed at work at heights and above free depths. The frequency of trainings is regulated by 262/2006 Coll., of the Labour Code. The employer is obliged to determine the nature and scope of training, the method of verification of knowledge and shall keep documentation of the training courses carried out.
All protective elements against fall are subject to European Directive 89/686/EEC, category III - protecting against mortal danger or against dangers that may seriously and irreversibly harm the health.
We know the rules, but what about the actual protection of workers?
Harnesses, ropes, carbines and other protective equipment are defined depending on the work activity and environment:
- flat or sloping roofs,
- work at vertical position,
- wind power plants or
- maintenance of various machines and equipment.
The type and place of work are connected with various risk levels. Therefore, protective equipment is sometimes not sufficient and safety has to be ensured globally throughout the entire workplace. Such a solution consists of the following parts:
- Anchoring points
- Safety harness
- Connecting element
- An evacuation plan
- Training, education
Protective elements must be checked regularly, while the revision of PPE is required at least once a year. This revision must be performed by an authorised person.
Falling from heights at the workplace may be caused by a minor stumbling. If protection is insufficient, such a fall may have serious consequences. The already mentioned fatal falls in 2016 were caused by, e.g.: failing to attach oneself to the working platform, failing to wear a helmet or slipping during the repair of a roof without security. So please, do not slip when dealing with protection issues and do not hesitate to contact experts.
Our experts will prepare everything, from the proposal of a solution for fall-arrest systems, anchoring points and climbing tracks through project documentation and installation to PPE revision and training at your company.