1300 880 858 1/12 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads, QLD 4220
Low Roofs and Ladders - The Big Killers!

Low Roofs and Ladders - The Big Killers!

Fatalities are Still on the Rise 

Safe Working at Heights Gold CoastDespite the increased pressure from work place health and safety to have "working safely at heights training" fatalities from falls are still on the rise.This extract from a recent Worksafe QLD article shows an alarming trend.
“Deaths and serious injuries resulting from falls from height continue to be a major workplace concern and the number of workers dying in falls has increased steadily from 10.4% of all worker fatalities in 2003, to 11.9% in 2013 and 13.3% in 2015. Most falls resulting in deaths were from roofs (59 in the last 13 years) and then ladders (54 over same period)."frijkohsdrfeggiloj;ds 
 
It appears that working on roofs and ladders is still by far the most dangerous thing we are doing.
So what is driving this upward trend? Are people doing more stupid things? Taking more risks? Is there less accountability? Is there more pressure to get more work done faster with less equipment? Are registered training organisations handing out “tickets” and not skills?
I suspect all of these factors are in play and more.
So whats going on with roofs and ladders? Why are they involved with so many accidents? 
The frequency of use likely has a lot to do with it. Ladders are still the go-to first choice when people are looking to leave the safety of the floor, and move into a very dangerous working at heights position. 
 
I believe the main culprit is a low perception of risk,(AKA Stupidity) familiarity and complacency. 
Ladders are notoriously unstable and very easy to upset, topple or slip and low roofs are simply not very scary. People just don't feel compelled to set up an appropriate safety system.
No matter what control measure we put in place, guardrail, proper scaffolding, harnesses and restraint lines or EWP’s, there is always a residual risk left. We then accept the residual risk and proceed with the task - or not. With very low risk perception, people tend to accept the residual risk with no controls in place at all.
 
The next, and possibly even more influential reason for taking the risk with no controls is MONEY.
Anchor points, harnesses and scaffold all cost a load of money. As every good contractor know, that money is much better in your pocket than being wasted on rubbish like safety!!
 
A friend of mine broke both wrists at the same time when the ladder he was working on suddenly slipped backwards on a polished floor. In a split second, eating, washing, dressing and using the toilet became something he couldn't do without a very understanding Wife! Earning money in this condition is almost impossible.
 
Ladders are banned on most construction sites for these reasons, and other forms of access are opted for.
I see people riding around in scissor lifts fully retracted so they can work just 1.5m off the floor. Seems a little excessive, and it probably is. I personally believe the issue should be risk assessed every time.
There are, however, some very simple things you can do the improve ladder safety.
A ladder stabiliser bracket that fixes to the ladder is major safety hack. The extra stability is huge and they are inexpensive.
Tieing the base of the ladder to the wall you are working on. This combined with the bracket up the top make for a much safer means of access.
Use a restraint line and harness, also known as a roofers kit. Attach this to a solid anchor point and adjust it so you can’t even get over the edge.
Get better training! The demand for increased safety is not going away from a legal point of view. My advice is to really get to know what height safety equipment is out there and learn how to use it correctly.
Roofs are becoming a much more popular place to be. They are valuable realestate and people are now opting to load this space up with air conditioners, solar pool heaters, aerials and solar panels. All these extra services require extra servicing and maintenance. We also really encourage building owners to take some responsibility and put ladder brackets and permanent safety point on their roofs when installing services up there.
As an equipment retailer and trainer in the height safety and rescue industry, I get to talk to everyone from the Tier 1 construction company safety officer to the small business owner trying to get setup without blowing the budget. The one thing I have noticed that is present across the industry at ALL levels is a gap in knowledge around best practices.
For more information on how we can help you keep you and team safer, please visit our website
Or Call 1300 880 858
 

 
Written by: Christopher Roberts Copyright Rope Access & Rescue Pty Ltd 2018
 

 
 
 
April 22, 2018 by Chris Roberts
Falls From Heights Cause 2000 Claims in 2017

Falls From Heights Cause 2000 Claims in 2017

Working at heights related injuries have caused more than 2000 compensation claims in the last so far, and it is safe to say that will increase before the year is over.  As court cases are fought over and claims disputed, the only real winners are the lawyers.  Nobody wants to fall from height and hurt themselves, and no employer ever wants to be sued in the line of business.  More detail about some of the claims in progress found here at the Workcover Qld website.  
November 30, 2017 by Chris Roberts
Working At Heights Training Gold Coast

Working At Heights Training Gold Coast

Rope Access & Rescue has been around for 10 years on the Gold Coast providing height safety services.  Before that our trainer had spent another 7 years performing rope access, height safety, and rescue services
August 30, 2017 by Chris Roberts
How to Ensure Success in the Rope Access World

How to Ensure Success in the Rope Access World

The most crucial part about entering into the rope access industry is landing your first job. Very few rope access companies want to employ you without experience, and you can't get experience without the job. This creates a closed loop and a barrier to entry.

March 27, 2017 by Chris Roberts
How To's.  Harness Selection - Your Guide

How To's. Harness Selection - Your Guide

The core of any rope access kit, or any height safety kit at all, is your harness. Unfortunately, not all harnesses are made equal, and not all harnesses suit all people. What works for one may be terrible for someone else. 
March 27, 2017 by Chris Roberts
My Chance to Give Back - ANZAC Day 2015

My Chance to Give Back - ANZAC Day 2015

Occasionally things come your way that enhance others' lives and leaves a legacy! This "helping out a mate" was exactly that.

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I could help install an ANZAC day memorial sculpture on Elephant Rock on the Gold Coast.

The simple answer was yes, but I didn't realise how important to the community and how many people the art piece would reach. It ended up being huge!

 

 

March 27, 2017 by Chris Roberts

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