When people are working at height it's essential to consider the risk of objects falling onto somebody or something below.
Any hand-held equipment such as drills or saws can be dropped or knocked over the edge of a platform or walkway. Materials such as nails, pieces of wood and debris can also represent a significant hazard.
Key steps to prevent objects falling
- Platforms should be constructed so that materials or objects can't fall and cause injury to anyone or anything below. Close-boarded platforms are usually sufficient.
- For work over public areas, a double-boarded platform with a polythene sheet in between the boards prevents small items such as nails and bolts from falling.
- Toe boards also prevent items from being kicked off the edge of platforms.
- Providing a covered walkway is another way to protect people below.
- If you're using a cradle, harness or mobile elevated working platform, mesh or netting can be used underneath the equipment to prevent anything falling and causing injury or damage.
- Covered chutes are an effective and quick method of removing debris from work areas, and much safer than throwing items over the side of a platform into a skip below.
- Tools such as drills and trowels can be attached to safety lines - if they're accidentally dropped, the line prevents them falling below the work area.
- Remember that bad weather can cause difficulties for outdoor work, with wind blowing equipment off platforms. If the weather is particularly severe, you may have to postpone work to prevent putting people at risk.