Fall hazards: Movies vs. reality
Movie fact #1: Hasty decisions often lead to bad outcomes.
It would have been different with a Last Minute Risk Analysis or LMRA. This allows you to recognize risks and fall hazards in time. Before starting work, you can use an LMRA to identify, address, and control risks. This ensures the safety of you, your colleagues, and the environment.
For example, if a fall protection system is installed on a rooftop, it is advisable to perform an LMRA for each use along with the associated personal protective equipment. This way, you are aware of potential dangers and actively think about how to prevent the risk of falling.
If there is no fall protection available, assess whether you can safely perform the work at all. Remember: fall protection for tasks at heights is essential. Do not take risks if you are unsure about what you are facing, and halt work until you can proceed safely.
Movie fact #2: The protagonist swings across with a half-rotten rope
Fall hazards can occure with little things, therefor perform a visual inspection on your fall protection personal protective equipment (PBM) before using it. Does its condition leave something to be desired? Is it frayed, worn, or are the hooks rusted? Has your harness come into contact with chemicals? If any of these issues are present, do not use the PBM and remove it from service. If in doubt, have your PBM inspected annually by a certified authority.
Movie fact #3: The main character jumps through a window, lands on the ground, and survives.
In reality, falling through glass rarely ends well, especially from a height, for example, through a skylight or roof window. Be aware of the danger: these elements are often made of polycarbonate and definitely cannot withstand the forces of a fall. Stay away from them or take measures with a suitable solution such as covering or fencing off these elements.
Movie fact #4: The main character is invincible and can do anything.
No matter how much knowledge you have, don’t become overconfident, and make sure you don’t work at heights alone. Be aware of your abilities. Do you have the right training? Are you authorized to perform tasks at heights? Professional work at heights requires undergoing training that ensures safe and proper behavior on the roof. During these types of training sessions, you are not only educated about the risks and dangers of working at heights but also learn how to rescue your colleague from a precarious situation.
Movie fact #5: The main character falls and frees themselves from a hanging situation..
After a fall, hanging in a fall protection harness on a lifeline doesn’t mean the danger is over. Depending on the situation, you might be conscious and able to use your Harness Suspension Straps to relieve some pressure on your body. If you don’t do this, the harness can cut off blood circulation, leading to loss of consciousness over time (Harness Suspension Trauma). If not rescued in time, this can result in death. When you cannot call for emergency or help yourself, a present colleague can be your savior. Never work alone at heights and always have a rescue plan in place!
Movie fact #6: Slippery and dirty conditions spell danger
The combination of weather elements and leftover materials can create substances that make the roof surface slippery. These can include wet autumn leaves, stagnant water, and of course, snow and ice formation so be aware of fall hazards by the risk of slipping and tripping. Wear sturdy work shoes that provide stability during the walk on these surfaces.
Never take shortcuts on the roof; always follow designated routes. If the roof has a fence along the edge, it’s still important to stick to the indicated routes. Unshielded hazards can still pose a threat.
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