Apply the right safety concept, and avoid taking chances
Glass facades which ongoingly require cleaning, PV installations on roofs, and industrial operations with large equipment all have one thing in common: They are workplaces with an increased potential risk of falling. And these areas have special rules about protecting the workers who perform their tasks there.
Siehe dazu auch:
- „Basic facts about the Labour Protection Act“ from Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA) [the Austrian accident insurance institution]
- „Safety and health of employees while they are working“ from the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV) [German Social Accident Insurance]
- „Rights and Obligations of Employers“ from the Schweizerische Unfallversicherungsanstalt (SUVA) [Swiss National Accident Insurance Organization]
Employers are responsible for determining and assessing all risks, in order that they can then implement appropriate safety measures. For this they require a professional, full safety concept which is intended to prevent serious accidents.
But the effort always pays for itself, because as a rule an industrial accident or a fall has extremely severe consequences for the victims, and the most cost-intensive scenario for the companies affected, partially because they have to deal with more than just long-term injury-related time off work.
In the event of an accident, they also have to expect heavy penalties if it turns out that the onsite safety solution was insufficient, or there is even a suspicion of negligence. For this, refer also to our blog post “Why fall protection is always cheaper than a fall”.
Step by step to the professional safety concept
Only after the creation of a solid risk assessment is it possible to define the optimum fall protection system for the respective project. When creating such a concept, a number of parameters must be taken into account.
The most significant points at a glance:
- The fall protection systems should always be to the latest state of the art, and must comply with all standards.
- Furthermore, the solution should be fully user-friendly and easy to operate.
- The onsite circumstances must contribute to the safety concept:
- The pitch angle and height of roofs.
- The characteristics of the building or facade.
- Access and transits.
- Frequency of access to the fall risk area…
A holistic safety concept takes all these points into account and also creates a safe route to the fall-risk area, i.e. when planning and creating such a concept, it is also certainly necessary to take into account all access routes and ascents to the roof or facade.
The first anchor points must therefore be installed in such a way that the workers can reach the workplace safely. This includes all types of access routes, ladders, and ascent aids.
After the existing conditions have been analysed, the selection of the best-matching fall protection system is made.
Depending on the actual situation, either individual protection in combination with personal protective equipment (PPE), or collective protection can be selected.
In addition, appropriate documentation of the installation of all securing components and the long-term archiving of all plans must form part of the safety concept. And this documentation must obviously also include the process of rescue and recovery in an emergency, using the operator’s own equipment.
It may additionally be necessary to appoint a safety specialist. This applies particularly in industry. You will find further information in the Labour Protection Act.
When creating your safety concept, follow the STOP principle. You are then doing things the right way in terms of the correct sequence of all industrial safety measures.
Every workplace has very specific challenges in terms of safety. It is therefore always necessary to analyse all relevant parameters. It is possible to perform all tasks in safety only if it has been determined in advance where the danger areas are, and how protection against falls can be created.
The location and manner of positioning anchorage devices or other safety solutions varies from one situation to another. It is therefore all the more necessary to consult an expert in fall protection systems.
The effects of weather, such as snow, wet, ice, and wind should be included in a holistic plan. Particularly on roofs, the substructure needs to be inspected for stability. This is the only way to ensure that, in terms of the load on the substructure, the fall protection system really is capable of bearing the load of a falling person. In such a case, a structural engineer should be consulted.