Risk prevention training in work on heights and suspension

As every year, accidents caused by falls at different levels continue to be one of the main causes of work absenteeism, irreversible injuries and deaths in the workplace. Internationally, there has been a rise of large industrial and infrastructure projects multiply labour risks, especially in falls and accidents from height. For this reason, Universal Skills […]
risk at heights

As every year, accidents caused by falls at different levels continue to be one of the main causes of work absenteeism, irreversible injuries and deaths in the workplace. Internationally, there has been a rise of large industrial and infrastructure projects multiply labour risks, especially in falls and accidents from height. For this reason, Universal Skills develops global projects on occupational risk prevention in the entire country, offering advisory services in normative, preventive and procedural matters, both in prevention, occupational health and safety in high risk jobs, height, confinement and areas with explosive atmospheres.

During the last decade, there has been a spectacular development of both techniques, methodologies and specific materials for the prevention of risks arising from work in height and suspension, training, advice, risk control and safety audits in frames of work in height, places of difficult access, industrial rescue and confinement in construction, industry, energy, mining and ports.

Proper training is essential

The training and training in safety, prevention, occupational health and safe work methodologies in height, are one of the first fundamental links on which to base the preventive strategy of accidents in highly specialised jobs.

According to the experts, for vertical works, passing through sectoral agreements where increasingly qualified and specialized training becomes vital.

Regarding the theoretical and practical training that is defined as such in the most important international standards, in this type of tasks of positioning and access at height, tends, in addition, to training, understood as such, the acquisition by the workers trained in the necessary expertise and experience, and through practice, of these jobs in height and access and positioning techniques, as well as in the use of auxiliary material necessary for this, review and maintenance.

This training differs from that which is imparted in the field of prevention of occupational risks in the sense in which the operative and the practice is of greater importance than the theory. The theoretical-practical training in relation to work at height and work teams becomes aware of the extreme risk to which these workers are exposed, simply by the Positioning in your workplace and regardless of the risks added by the activity:

1.- Electrical risk in work in tension.

2.- Death risks due to work in confined spaces.

3.- Risk of explosion due to work in explosive atmospheres.

This article intends to be introductory and the first of a series where certain height jobs are described in different types of activities and where positioning and suspension techniques are necessary.


The effectiveness of the training

To become a professional in the world of work, you need specific training for each job and a global knowledge in risk prevention and risk assessment.

In particular, operators of vertical works need to carry them out in a safe way that have a series of specific knowledge in:

  • Techniques, manoeuvres and methodologies with two ropes, one of suspension and another of safety.
  • Installation techniques of SAS systems and control of materials and base supports, for a correct installation of the header systems.
  • Techniques and manoeuvers of rescue, evacuation and first aid.
  • Only people who are prepared, trained specifically and authorized must do vertical work and suspension.

All operators must be of legal age and have passed a medical examination that rules out physical or psychological problems. Once the corresponding training of the worker has been carried out, he will be accredited as a technician in vertical works. In addition, every year you must pass a medical examination that includes the following aspects and perform a new training course, to:

Physical aspects (cardiac problems, high blood pressure, epileptic attacks, dizziness, vertigo, limb disabilities, drug addiction, alcoholism, psychiatric illness, diabetes and a long etc.)

  • Psychological aspects. The psychological aspects of aptitude to be taken into account in a vertical works operator and that may prejudice the correct performance of the works are:
  • Undeveloped common sense of the works, risk assessment.
  • Slow reaction capacity in high risk jobs.
  • Inadequate transmission norm-procedure-action.

One of the jobs where there is more risk are those made in height, confinement and ATEX areas, since they are assigned or associated with other risks. Take as an example a welder, where he has to perform welding work in the construction of an infrastructure or repair of it.

You already have an assigned risk, control the welding equipment, perform precision work, carry your assigned Epi equipment and an increase in the mooring and connection elements (harness, positioners, fall arrest systems, others). To avoid possible falls, apart from knowing how to manipulate a lifting platform or articulated arm, if work is done on this type of platform. But we go much further, that same welder has to carry out welding work in places that are difficult to access and in suspension.

For this you must have a deep level of knowledge in the use of anchoring elements (SAS), descent manoeuvres, positioning and descent, suspension ropes and advanced notions, together with your support partners in first aid, rescue and evacuation techniques in height.

For all this, a specific technical training is needed, hence the importance of training and accreditation, and promptly be trained and trained to develop this type of actions.

Here at Universal Skills we have developed a specific training and education program that includes basic knowledge to assess the risks in the workplace, and training in responsible and appropriate use of the means of protection in order to annul or reduce to the maximum the risks related to the activity developed in height and confinement.

A good theoretical training includes:

– Introduction to work at height. Preventive action and awareness of responsibility and security.

– Basic knowledge on prevention of occupational risks; current legislation and regulations applicable in each job.

– Theoretical concepts of work at height: safety chain, fall factor, shock forces, suspension trauma.

– Application of procedures and study of supports and walls.

– Introduction to structural fall arrest systems. Anchor points, permanent and temporary life lines.

– Identification of supports and corresponding resistances in the installation of anchorage points, fixed and temporary life lines.

– Basic techniques of access and positioning in height.

– Evacuation and rescue devices and systems.

– Basic techniques of evacuation and rescue of a wounded in height.

The practical training includes:

– Use of different Personal and Collective Protection Equipment.

– Displacement and transit in elevated areas.

– Insurance through the use of permanent and / or temporary horizontal lifelines.

– Use of permanent and / or mobile anchoring points.

– Use of retractable fall arrest blocks.