Working at height is dangerous at the best of times and we’ve already spoken about the benefits of making sure everything is safe on the way up and also when you get to height. There’s no doubt that planning everything out is absolutely essential if you want to ensure safety, but there’s another side to this – what if things go wrong that you didn’t envisage?
There are always going to be situations that you didn’t expect. It’s the nature of the world that something will happen that you hadn’t planned for and that’s when real planning comes in handy. There are many ways to ensure things are done to limit all problems, but just in case something does happen that you weren’t expecting, communication is the key to a quick resolution. If someone is working at height and they find there’s an issue up there, shouting down to get help isn’t really the best way to get attention. A clear communication is needed between the operators and the safety staff on the ground, so make sure there is one.
Obviously most people will use radios for this, but we can rely on them to work and therefore don’t test them. We’ve found that even before the easiest of jobs, it’s always best to check radios before lifting.
Also, if you’re using a “cherry picker” and have more than one person in the basket, have a radio for each one. If one person becomes incapacitated and drops the radio, that means the other can call for help.
And finally, how about putting your radios on a lanyard. So many people just hold them and then when both hands are needed, pop them on the floor of the basket. Instead, have it on a safety lanyard or clipped to the basket somewhere.
Gravity can be a cruel mistress, don’t let it take you and your equipment tumbling to the floor!