Safer working at height during relocations

Having edge protection in place from day one does not have to be a challenge; with simple precautions like man anchors and temporary guard rails, it’s easy to adopt safer working at height practices while you set up your new premises.

Likewise, edge protection – whether temporary or permanent – is an essential factor in safer working at height practices when moving out of an old location, if equipment needs to be moved from an elevated position, or for example if roof signage needs to be dismantled.

Issues such as these are among the dangers highlighted in a recent issue of the Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, in which Govinda Rao T and Dr N A Siddiqui undertake a risk assessment of moving a research and development laboratory from one location to another.

Their example moves an experimental R&D centre from one location, and administrative offices from another location, together into a third, collocated building.

In their risk assessment, the authors warn of the dangers faced during the pre-move, shutdown and disassembly phase, as well as the reassembly and pre-startup phase before operations are resumed in the new location.

They warn of the risks of working at height, along with the dangers associated with lifting and hoisting equipment; they also warn about manual handling risks and hazards like electricity and chemicals.

While some of these dangers need other personal protective equipment, temporary guard rails can be installed quickly as a physical barrier to prevent against human falls and equipment dropped from an elevated position.

Man anchors can also be used to tether people to a safe and secure point on the roof when working at height, so that they are unable to move far enough from the anchor point to be at risk of falling.

In this way, safer working at height practices can be used even before permanent roof rails have been put into place, from the first moments during which roof access is required.