Five Tips on Safely Working at Heights

Many Americans die or suffer serious injuries when they fall from high surfaces. During a typical year in the United States, over 600 workers plunge to their deaths. This often occurs when people work on roofs, ladders, scaffolding or cellphone towers. Fortunately, you can prevent most injuries by implementing fall protection systems and following these safety tips:

1) Workers must use, transport and maintain scaffolding towers properly. Before anyone climbs to the platform, always remember to lock every caster tightly. A tower should have stabilizers or outriggers if its height exceeds 2.7 yards. Don't move the scaffolding while anyone stands or sits on it.

2) Organize your gear and store it in containers with lids. This is important because falling equipment and tools kill approximately 22 Americans every month. Try to minimize the number of hoses and cables that cross the work area. They can become tripping hazards and cause people to drop tools. Use brightly colored signs to warn pedestrians about the work site.

3) When possible, avoid working on ladders for long periods of time. It's less dangerous to use them to reach platforms or other stable surfaces. If you place a ladder near the street or sidewalk, install barriers around its base. Put ladders as near to the work area as possible, and securely attach them to one or both surfaces.

4) Fall protection systems should consist of body harnesses, energy-absorbing lanyards, secure anchors and rescue devices. The right lanyard length depends on a work area's exact height. Try to place the anchor in the highest available location, and keep in mind that knots will compromise the strength of any rope.

5) Be prepared to use fall protection systems in an emergency. If a worker becomes suspended in the air, it's vital to avoid suspension trauma by freeing the person within 10 minutes. You should know how to operate rescue and self-rescue equipment when this happens. Don't reuse a harness after falling; the stress has probably weakened it.

The federal government requires construction firms to obtain fall protection systems when people work at heights of at least six feet. This equipment only performs well when employers regularly inspect the harnesses, store them properly and provide adequate training. It's also crucial to order quality products from reputable suppliers. offers all-in-one fall protection systems with steel anchors, shock-absorbing lanyards and durable leg straps.