An incident in which a man working at height became severely disorientated after taking a jet of steam to the face has been used as an example of why guard rails are so important.
The HSE report on the incident explains that the man was wearing standard safety equipment – a hard hat and safety glasses – yet after a spray of low-pressure steam to the face, he was left with damage to his skin and blurred vision.
Reacting to the disorientation his impaired vision caused, he became out of control, putting him at risk of falling from the 25m-high platform on which he was working.
Although there were handrails, these were insufficient to remove the risk of a fall, and his colleagues had to put themselves in potential danger to physically restrain him until a crane could carry him safely to the ground.
The man was left with a slight scar to his forehead – but the incident could have been much worse, had his disorientated state led him to walk over the platform edge.