What Type of Safety Lifting Gear Do You Need?
Across the construction industry, and worksites throughout the UK, working from height is part and parcel of the job. A typical day-to-day occurrence for many, working from height safely is a pressing issue, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of employees up and down the country. This is why safety lifting gear, personal protective equipment and strict procedures are so important within the industry, to protect workers from potential hazards, accidents or injury. In this article, we analyse the importance of safety lifting gear, highlighting the key pieces of PPE and lifting gear required on a given worksite.
Staying safe on a worksite, or in the construction industry, is of the highest importance. One of the most hazardous industries to work for in the UK, safety and personal protective equipment, (PPE), is required by law to ensure workers remain safe on-site at all times. Common types of PPE required on worksites include:
● Safety Helmets
● Hi-Vis Clothing
● Ear Protection
● Safety Footwear
● Safety Harnesses
● Thermal, weather and waterproof clothing
● Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
With a high risk to human life, from the risk of falls when working from height, or accident or injury when operating complex machinery, there are dangers lurking around every corner. In this case, there are specific types of PPE required by law that must be worn on-site at all times, below we provide a closer, in-depth analysis of the vital pieces of PPE necessary for keeping your employees safe when working from height.
A common occurrence on many construction sites, falling objects can lead to accidents or injury occurring on-site, and to prevent this issue from spiralling into a serious hazard, hard hats are required to be worn at all times. Capable of protecting you from the impact of heavy objects, electric shocks, rain and direct sunlight, hard hats or safety helmets are constructed from a high-density material that helps protect the wearer’s head from serious injury. Hard hats can also be fitted with a face shield, hearing protection and ventilation to further protect and provide comfortability during use, in some cases, workers will even attach lights, mirrors, radio or a walkie-talkie to aid their safety and efficiency even further.
Generally speaking, there are three main types of head protection used on worksites today:
● Industrial Safety Helmet - commonly referred to as a ‘hard hat’, they are designed to protect against the impact of materials falling from a height or collision with swinging objects.
● Industrial Scalp Protectors - also referred to as a ‘bump cap’, are designed to protect against the impact of bumping into stationary objects.
● Caps/Hair Nets - designed to protect against hair entanglement on-site.
Due to the risk of exposure to debris, waste or even chemical or hazardous substances, protecting your eyes is essential on all work-sites in the UK. Eye injuries can occur when workers are performing tasks such as grinding, welding or cutting, and in these instances, safety goggles must be worn at all times. Safety goggles are considered the most common form of eye protection, but there are actually several types of eye protection available to you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the vital forms of eye protection you can choose from:
● Safety Goggles - constructed from flexible plastic, safety goggles protect the eyes from exposure to debris.
● Safety Spectacles - not dissimilar to regular glasses, safety spectacles have a tough lens, and will typically include side shields for additional protection.
● Eye Shield - worn over prescription glasses, an eye shield is a frameless moulded lens that fits over the top of your prescription to protect your eyes and ensure you still have complete visibility.
● Face Shields - larger and bulkier than a standard form of eye protection, a face shield covers the entire face but doesn’t entirely enclose around the eyes. This means that dust, debris and hazardous fumes are still able to filter through and potentially cause injury.
Vital to the safety and visibility of everyone on site, hi-visibility jackets play an essential role in construction, ensuring all employees are looked after and accounted for. Especially important when working at night, hi-visibility clothing can be as straightforward as wearing a vest but is also used for trousers and jackets, to provide further visibility and protection.
Hands, Feet and Face
Now you’ve protected your heads and eyes from the risk of accident or injury, it’s time to think about the rest of your body. Working from height is dangerous, and safety gloves, goggles and protective footwear will all play a positive role in safeguarding you on-site. Consider insulated gloves, steel-capped boots and dust masks when working on a construction site, to help assist in your overall safety.
Fall Arrest Systems
Unlike a fall protection system, which is in place to prevent a fall from occurring, a fall arrest system is in place to protect you after you fall and before you hit the surface. In the times in which you or your employees will be working from height, near a fragile surface or narrow ledge, there is always a high risk of falls occurring, so an attachment via a lanyard or rope to an anchor point will protect you from serious injury. A complete fall arrest system combined with PPE (personal protective equipment) and a thorough training programme, will provide you with the best possible chance of remaining safe at work.
An essential component of every fall arrest system is the anchor point. Typically installed on roofs, an anchor point is used to connect lanyards, lifelines and most forms of tie-off which are designed to prevent a worker from falling at height. Anchor points can be as simple as a D-ring connection, but can also be found on complete lifeline systems in both permanent and temporary fixtures.
Lifeline and Lanyard
A positional lanyard is attached to the worker’s harness to control the direction in which they can go, to help avoid recognised hazards on the worksite. The worker will be led and controlled by the lanyard, to ensure they remain safe on the job. Shock-absorbing lanyards, meanwhile, will contain an energy-absorbing unit to help reduce the impact placed upon the body during a fall.
Similarly, self-retracting lifelines, (SRLs), are also often used when working from height, as, unlike a lanyard, the lifeline will retain its tension at all times, staying out of the way of the worker and reducing the risk of tripping over the rope/wire and falling. Much like pulling a seatbelt too quickly, a lifeline can lock itself into a position, meaning in the event of a fall, the distance you’ll drop from will be minimised.
Responsible for attaching lanyards, ropes and safety equipment to your body, a harness should always be worn whenever working from height. A harness is worn over the body and attached to the fall arrest system, ensuring that in any instances in which a fall may occur, you are safely attached to your anchor point, thus eradicating the chance of serious injury.
In place to attach the harness to the anchor, a connector is generally a shock-absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline fitted with energy-absorbing elements, to help further reduce the impact placed upon the user’s body in the event of a fall.
Servicing & Maintenance
Regardless of what PPE or safety lifting equipment you are using, ensuring it is properly maintained and serviced regularly is pivotal in providing assurances over the safety of your PPE or lifting gear. We recommend carrying out inspections, crane inspections and fall arrest system checks at least twice a year, but in truth, the more maintenance work you carry out, the safer your employees will feel.
Crane & Lifting Services LTD - Offering Crane & Lifting Expertise Across the UK
At Crane & Lifting Services Ltd, we offer the latest safety equipment and training at affordable prices to ensure that you and your employees remain safe and compliant at all times. If you require height safety equipment and training, as well as installation and maintenance services for a range of heavy-duty equipment in the UK, we can help!
We are proud to offer specialist crane installation and maintenance services, and with dedicated crane engineers available 24/7, we are well-placed to respond to crane emergencies throughout the whole of the UK. Get in touch with our expert team today.