Tag Archives: environmental conditions


Working at height is a common requisite of almost any construction, maintenance or development work and should be conducted with extra care. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height remain one of the most common causes of fatality in any workplace, with a large proportion of these being a result of proper checks and basic assessments having not been carried out.

If you are an employer running your own business where working at height is frequent, it is crucial that you are familiar with the Working At Height Regulations 2005 and that you are continuously implementing the right health and safety protocol within your work site. If you are an employee, it’s important to be aware of the necessary safety checks so you can be sure you are not putting yourself in danger whilst at work. 

1.     Assess the work to be done.

Thorough and practical assessment of the work to be carried out will allow the work to be controlled responsibly throughout, minimising the likelihood of setbacks or emergencies.

It is stressed by the HSE that work should be done at height only when absolutely necessary. Ask yourself: can this work be done from the ground, with specialised equipment? Or can it be done using lower-level or interval platforms, reducing the risk of fall or injury?

Also identify the risks themselves, including the height of the work to be done, and how realistically accessible it is, even with the use of elevated platforms and other equipment. Determine how many people are required to complete the work, so as not to compromise the safety of more than what is absolutely necessary. Decide whether the work to be done is of a long or short duration (short duration is work that is measured in minutes rather than hours). 

2.     Take note of environmental conditions.

Work at height should never be undertaken or allowed in extreme weather conditions that could endanger anybody’s health and safety. Also bear in mind the surrounding environment of your work site, such as a noisy environment that could affect communications between those working at height and those co-ordinating on the ground. Nearby unstable matter can also pose an extra risk of injury, distraction or obstruction, so it’s important to maintain the worksite and its surrounding area to as high a standard as possible.

Although environmental conditions very often cannot be controlled, they can be noted and prepared for accordingly. 

3.     Check the relevant equipment.

Use of the right equipment is obviously the backbone of any work being carried out at height; whether this involves ladders, scaffolding, or the use of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS) such as scissor lifts or cherry pickers.

What should not be overlooked, however, is the checking and maintenance of this equipment on a regular basis. Different equipment and machinery will have various maintenance specifications; scaffolding checks for example, ought to be carried every seven days, whilst harnesses require a pre-use check, detailed inspection and interim inspection at various stages of their lifetime.

Equipment checks should ideally be carried out by someone assessed under a registry body (such as the Construction Industry Scaffolders Registration Scheme), or at least with sufficient experience in the use of the height equipment being used. 

4.     Ensure employees have the right training.

In light of the previous point, anybody using specific height equipment should have had the right training in its operation – this is essential. If your business engages in the use of mobile elevated platforms, it is absolutely crucial that all employees have undergone IPAF training and hold a current Powered Access Licence card (PAL) that proves they are capable of operating MEWPs safely.

IPAF training can be carried out by an IPAF approved training provider, and courses can be completed in just one day, with different packages to suit your business’ needs. If you are an employee, speak to your employer about possibly setting up a course to secure a fully qualified workforce (and some excellent team building opportunities). 

5.     Prepare for the worst.

It sounds simple, but the law requires that there is always a plan in place for emergencies and rescues when working at height. Use all means possible to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur, such as safety nets or bean bags; rest platforms at regular intervals, and the wear of safety clothing.
Adele Hallsall writes for Kimberly Access, which provide access platform equipment for construction jobs. They have been serving businesses with access equipment for many years now and have a loyal customer base. They also provide training such as IPAF training.


Having a home may be a major milestone in a person’s life, but finding the right roofing in Tennessee or elsewhere may feel more like a burden.  If you’re like most people, your knowledge of roofing may be limited at best.  So, when you notice that dreaded drip coming from your ceiling, you know it is time to find an expert to take care of the problem for you.  The problem with this thinking is that by the time you’ve seen a leak in your ceiling, you’re likely looking at additional damage that may have already started many months before.  The cost of replacing a roof can be quite prohibitive, so if you’re smart about it, you’ll find ways to maintain your roof in good condition for as long as possible.
Have an Annual Checkup
The roof of your house is probably the most vulnerable part of your house; it will be subject to all manner of environmental conditions ranging from burning heat in the summer time to torrential rains, snow and hail in the winter.  It is important that you have it inspected at least once a year so that you can detect signs of damage before they become major problems.  Check the materials for cracked caulk, rust, buckling, curling or blistering; these are early signs that something is beginning to deteriorate.
Catch Leaks  Before They Start 
 If you notice any dark areas on the ceiling inside your house, paint beginning to peel or dampness around your fireplace, chances is that a leak has begun.  Once you see these signs you know it’s time for some prevention work to be done.  Get a professional in immediately to fix the problem.  The longer you wait the worse the problem will become.  Control the Environment 

Trees often have low hanging branches that can scrape and damage the roof over time.  Removing those branches can do a lot to save your roof from all sorts of problems.  Rodents, squirrels and other little creepy crawlies can use those branches to get on your roof and gnaw their way inside your house.  To avoid these types of problems it is best to remove any branches within 10 feet of your home. 

Most roofs will last for 30 to 40 years if they are maintained in good condition.  Learning how to watch for early warning signs of damage or potential problems can save you lots of money and even avoid other problems inside your home.  If you know the condition of your roof then you know the condition of your house too. 

For more information visit http://www.timleeperroofing.com

Note: When you are checking your roof, be sure you have a safe ladder, and some type of fall protection.  Remember, if you mention you read it on the blog, you get a 5% discount!  pb




Yesterday, we talked about ways to protect our backs through posture, exercise, and proper planning of lifting.  Many industries involve heavy lifting, such as materials handling, delivery of products, and in the healthcare field, lifting of patients.  This type of lifting can cause caregivers to have to be in awkward positions often when a patient suddenly tries to get up unassisted, not realizing they will fall without the caregiver’s help. 

Employees whose jobs require lifting for long periods of time, should have adequate rest periods to allow their body to rest.  They should also drink water often.  Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in workplaces.  Overexertion and cumulative trauma were the biggest factors in back injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor.  Employees should use smart lifting practices and work in their “power zone.”  They will be less likely to suffer back sprains, muscle pulls, wrist injuries, elbow injuries, spinal injuries, and other injuries caused by lifting heavy objects.  Factors that contribute to injuries are:

  • Environmental elements.
  • Inadequate handholds.
  • Weight of objects.
  • Awkward Postures.
  • High-frequency and long-duration lifting. 

“Power Zone” height is about mid-thigh to mid-chest.  Maintain neutral and straight spine alignment whenever possible.  Bending at the knees, rather than the waist, usually helps maintain proper spine alignment.  In handling heavy materials, if possible, break down loads in smaller quantities and break down loads off-site.  When possible, ask vendors to break down loads prior to delivery.  Weight should be limited to 50 pounds.  When lifting loads heavier than that, use two or more people to lift the load.  

Preplanning and good housekeeping will optimize employee access to heavy items.  Ladders should be used to elevate employees and move them closer to the work area to avoid overhead lifting.  Workers should try to avoid twisting, bending, and reaching awkwardly. 

Inadequate handholds make lifting harder by moving the load away from the body, lower lift heights, and increase the risk of contact stress and of dropping the load.  Ask suppliers to place their materials in containers with good handholds.  Handles, slots or holes should have enough room to accommodate gloved hands.  The proper personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn to avoid finger injuries and contact stress.  Work Safety Gloves should fit properly and furnish a good grip in order to reduce the risk of dropping the load.  Lifting belts, support belts, and shoes with non-slip soles are other ways of keeping the back and body safe. 

Environmental elements are other potential hazards.  Cold temperatures can cause decreased muscle flexibility, resulting in pulled muscles.  Very hot temperatures can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and increased metabolic load.  Low visibility or poor lighting can increase the risk of trips and falls. 

It is important for those who do physical work to be cautious about how they perform their duties.  Protecting the entire body, by wearing the correct PPE, and following the rules of safe lifting, or safe practices in general,  will allow workers to feel better much longer, and avoid long-term injuries.