THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF WORKING AT HEIGHT

REMINDER: Personal protection should only be used when collective protection cannot be installed on a site or for a temporary action limited in time.

Personal protection against falls from height consists of three inseparable components:

  • A body holding system;
  • Fall prevention linkage;
  • An anchorage system.

Depending on the overhead work configurations, several working methods, and hence types of equipment, may be used

 

 

WORK STATION PREVENTION: The purpose of this working method is to prevent the worker from reaching an area where there is a risk of fall from a height.

Basic equipment to be used: Work station holding harness or belt + Lanyard + Anchorage

Standards concerned: EN361 ; EN358 ; EN354 ; EN795 ; EN362

 

WORK STATION HOLDING: The purpose of this working method is to allow a worker to move about freely in safety and to hold him/her in position while leaving his/her hands free to do the work (e.g.: on a pylon) In this working situation, it is important to distinguish whether or not there is a risk of falling. If there is, the basic work station holding equipment should be used with a fall prevention protection system.

Basic equipment to be used: Work station holding harness with belt or work station holding belt + work station holding lanyard + Anchorage

Standards concerned: EN361 ; EN358 ; EN795 ; EN362…

 

FALL PREVENTION: The purpose of this working method is to hold the worker during a fall and to hold him/her suspended in the best conditions while awaiting help.
An efficient fall arrest system should reduce the height of the fall as much as possible, absorb as much energy as possible to reduce the forces applied to the human body and hold the person suspended while reducing the forces due to the inert (or not) position of a person in his/her harness.

Basic equipment to be used: Fall prevention harness + fall prevention device + anchorage point.

Standards concerned: EN361 ; EN353-1, EN 353-2 ; EN355 ; EN360 ; EN795 ; EN362

WORK IN CONFINED SPACES: This working method allows a worker to enter tanks, sewers, silos, etc, and be lifted out at any time from above. Consequently it is necessary for another person to remain available for this operation.

Basic equipment to be used: Fall prevention harness + connecting system + lifting system (winch, etc) + anchorage point (tripod, gallows, etc)

Standards concerned: EN361 ; EN360+EN1496 ; EN795 ; EN362

RESCUE: As this technique is used in an emergency, it is naturally the most sensitive. This intervention can be performed by the user himself/herself, if he/she is conscious
and has the necessary equipment for self-extraction, or by a helper. In this situation it is necessary to be able to reach the victim, release him/her in complete safety and remove the person upwards or downwards.

Basic equipment to be used: Complete fall prevention harness + fall prevention system + rescue system + anchorage point.

Standards concerned: EN361; EN1496; EN1498; EN341; EN1865; EN795; En362…

ROPE ACCESS: This technique of movement on a rope should only be used when traditional access systems cannot be installed. The basic rope access equipment should be used with a fall prevention system.

Basic equipment to be used: Complete fall prevention harness + progression system + anchorage point.

Standards concerned: EN361 ; EN358 ; EN 813 ; EN341 ; EN567 ; EN12841 ; EN12278; EN795 ; En362…

Whichever working technique is used, and to guarantee the maximum safety for the user, it is necessary to be trained, to practice, to keep up to date with new developments in these techniques and to be aware of the regulations in force.