Staying safe while working at height in all weathers
No matter the season, working outdoors in the UK is always interesting - here's how to stay safe!
No matter the season, working outdoors in the UK is always interesting. Just one day can bring sun, wind, rain… snow! It can be hard to contend with so here’s how to stay safe while working at height in all weathers.
The first point to note about wind is that work at height access equipment has a max wind speed for operation – check the manufacturers manual. The second is that wind at height is likely stronger than wind at ground level. Make sure you account for the difference when assessing whether it is safe for work and look forward; conditions can change quickly and catch you out. Strong winds increase the likelihood of machinery toppling over, make falls more probable and can cause tools to drop from height. They also make rescues more complicated – is your rescue plan suitable for high winds?
If there is one certainty when working outdoors in the UK, it’s that at some point you’ll get wet! But, while a bit of drizzle is unlikely to interrupt your work schedule, a torrential downpour might. In the extreme, flooding blocks access to site, restricts vehicle access and limits where you can set up. It may also prevent your employees from getting to work, so can be very disruptive. On a lesser scale, paths and roads can become slippery after rain, especially if there are fallen leaves or mud underfoot. Survey the area before starting work to minimise hazards and sweep up or clear any access water.
Snow and ice
The main issue with ice is that it’s slippery and makes getting around hazardous, both on foot and in vehicles. If snow and ice is forecast, stock up on appropriate de-icer, survey the area and clear paths before allowing access. Also, remove snow from all access platforms; if left to build up, it can fall on people below.
Fog reduces visibility, obscures obstructions on-site and can make it hard to spot accidents if they occur while working at height. Rescues are also more complicated when you can’t survey the situation appropriately.
Whether it is hot or cold, working in extreme temperatures puts employees at risk of illness and can compromise their dexterity and decision-making ability. It’s important to dress appropriately, drink water and take regular breaks indoors to warm up or cool down. Always have essentials such as sun cream nearby too!
Weather conditions don’t just impact employees, though, work at height equipment is also susceptible. If not kept or stored correctly, exposure to changing weather can cause problems such as corrosion, weakness and oil leaks, all of which compromise functionality and safety.
Need access equipment?
Looking for work at height access equipment? We have an extensive range available for hire, including van and truck-mounted platforms, scissor lifts, self-propelled and tracked booms. We maintain all our plant to the highest standards and can provide expert advice and experienced operators if needed. Let us take care of your work at height job for you – contact us today.