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How to protect your safety when working at height

It doesn't matter if you work at height every day of the week or here and there, a strong focus on safety is a must. With the right safety precautions in place, there's a much smaller chance of being involved in an accident, such as a fall to the ground below.

Here are five of the best ways to protect your safety when working at height:

  • Always use railings: For example, if you're working on scaffolding, a rail system is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe. As long as you remain within the rails, you don't have to worry about falling over the edge.
  • Choose the right personal fall arrest system: There is more than one type of personal fall arrest system, so choosing the right one for your particular job and height is critical. For instance, if you're working on the ledge of a building or a roof, a full body harness can provide the highest level of safety.
  • Inspect all your equipment: Before using any type of equipment at height, you must inspect it for defects and damage. This holds true with scaffolding, ladders, personal fall arrest systems and railings, among many other types of equipment. If you find a defective or damaged item, remove it from the worksite for the time being.
  • Choose the best platform for reaching your desired height: Generally speaking, you have three options: ladder, scaffolding or lift. All three of these platforms are helpful under different circumstances, so consider the pros and cons of each one.
  • Ensure proper use of ladders: It's common to become so comfortable using a ladder that you don't think twice about setting it up and taking the first step. You must take great caution when using a ladder, such as by placing it on firm and level ground, choosing the right ladder for the height you're climbing to and always maintaining three points of contact.

By following these types of tips, you'll feel more confident in your ability to protect your safety when working at height.

Even with safety in mind, you could still be involved in a worksite accident. If this happens, check yourself for injuries, administer first-aid and call 911 for help if necessary.

Also, report the injury to your supervisor and HR department as soon as possible, as you want to be clear that you suffered your injury on the job. This step is important to helping you receive workers' compensation benefits should your medical team suggest time away from work.

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