Working safely at height in winter
23 December 2016 11:29:10 GMT
Working at height is dangerous any time of year but there are many additional risks in the winter that you need to take into account. Whether you’re just getting a few things done around the house or you’re working on a professional construction site, it’s essential that you should prepare for the colder weather. The following is a guide for working safely at height in winter.
Ensure your ladder can be put up safely
One of the most important things to think about is whether your ladder can be put up safely. You need to find stable and solid ground for the ladder to stand on – in wet and slippery conditions that can be harder to do. Take the time to make sure you are getting up safely and that the weather will not give way.
Always wear gloves
If you’re going up a ladder or working at height on other equipment it is essential that you should wear gloves. Of course, metal ladders are likely to be very cold to the touch and you need to protect your hands against this. But remember that you still need to have the dexterity to carry out the work safely in these conditions so opt for gloves that aren’t too thick but still provide thermal protection.
Prepare for darker conditions
Naturally it gets darker earlier in the day during the winter months, so you’ll need to prepare for this. If it’s essential that you work into the darker hours then you should make sure that appropriate portable lighting is available to give you the light you need to complete the work safely. Remember as way to be careful in terms of mistaking shadows for solid objects which can be very easy to do in the half light.
Don’t work alone
In unpleasant conditions it’s more dangerous than usual to work at height. The issue is that if you fall or get injured not only is there no-one around to help you, but you are put at considerable risk from the cold and wet weather. If you are working alone then you should make sure that someone knows exactly where you are and is periodically checking that you are fine. It’s also important that you should have some sort of communication device on your person at all times.
Don’t try to work in impossible weather
Finally, remember that if the weather is bad, you really shouldn’t attempt to work in it. If there’s not very much work left it do it can be tempting to carry on working in difficult conditions, but when the weather gets bad it make it very dangerous to work at height even for a very short time. It’s a much better idea to leave the job until the weather has improved and carry it out safely.