We all have a certain rational fear of heights hardwired into us to ensure that we our careful when we are not all that close to terra firma. For those working at height, this rational fear is extremely important and those carrying out such roles are actually likely to be safer if they retain a certain level of fear when they are high up.
As such, it will be important to tread a fine line between putting staff at ease when they are working at height, and removing fear altogether. After all, should individuals become too complacent, they are likely to let their concentration slip, which in turn will mean that accidents are far more likely to happen. With falls from height being the most common cause of work fatalities, keeping staff safe and focussed when they are working at height should be one of the top priorities for any business.
On the flip side of this, workers will need to feel comfortable and confident enough to get their jobs done accurately, effectively and efficiently. In turn, the right training, the right tools and the right guidance will be vital to balance safety and fear in the most effective way.
PUTTING NEW WORKERS AT EASE
Those who have never worked at height before are understandably going to feel nervous. However, by offering them the right training and guidance, they should quickly feel extremely comfortable, no matter whether they are operating a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) or simply climbing a ladder. However, one of the most simple ways to put individuals at ease is to allow them to realise that fear is perfectly natural.
Those attempting to work at height for the first time may not want to show weakness or fear, but allowing them to feel comfortable about expressing any worries they have will help them to understand that the majority of experienced workers will have felt the very same fears the first few times they worked at height. In turn, allowing them to work at their own pace whilst they adapt will be extremely important.
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
One of the easiest ways to get the best from both new and existing employees that are working at height will be to use the right equipment and to provide safe access to high workplaces. Not only should MEWPs be utilised where possible to carry out work at height, but such equipment should also be hired from reputable companies with an excellent track record of safety.
Being given knowledge of the safety statistics of both your company and those offering equipment such as MEWPs will instantly put both new and existing workers at ease. However, constant reminders about the safe operating techniques and procedures will still be vital to ensure that confidence and competence don’t at some point segue into complacency.
The safer staff feel and the more knowledge they have at their disposal, the more effectively they will carry out given tasks and the safer they will be. In turn, not only might accidents be easier to avoid, but you will simply be able to get the most from workers new to your team as quickly as possible.
About the Author – Adam Howes is a freelance writer and blogger. He regularly writes articles about working at height, using websites such as www.priceaccess.co.uk to stay up to date with all the latest industry news and developments.