For many of us working at heights is something we can't imagine ourselves being able to do and when we look up and see others doing it we may even feel a little anxious ourselves. Armed with the right high access system and equipment, the knowledge of its safety features, and some positive experiences of working at heights can however mean that we may be more capable than we think.
We all have a healthy, natural, hard-wired fear of heights linked to our self preservation and survival instinct, and for the vast majority of people this is the only real issue that they have with heights. Less than 5% of the population actually suffer from an ‘irrational fear’ / phobia of heights known as Acrophobia and this is likely to be a significant barrier to those particular persons working height.
A strong but rational fear of heights is therefore all too often confused with Acrophobia, and is sometimes confused with Vertigo. Fear and phobia are quite different to Vertigo which is a condition of the inner ear that causes dizziness and can be triggered by many different types of movement or changes in visual perspective.
Pilots and Climbers Work At Heights
There are many reports of Pilots or even Climbers who feel a little sick themselves when they look up at people working high up on a building. Pilots however are comfortable flying tens of thousands of feet above those people, while Climbers are happy clinging on to high rock faces. Knowledge of and confidence in the aircraft for Pilots and the safety system for Pilots and Climbers are thought to some of the main reasons for their reduced feelings of fear and their ability to concentrate solely on the job at hand.
Construction and Manual Work at Heights
Construction workers, painters and electricians are often involved in working at heights. Falls from heights is one of the reasons why Construction is the second most dangerous land-based work sector in Europe (Eurostat 2012). While accidents often can't by their nature always be accurately predicted, risks can be assessed and plans can therefore be made to avoid those risks.
Safe Access to High Workplace
Whether indoors or outdoors if the workplace is at height one of the main reasons why people are able to carry out a task heights is because they know that the correct risk assessment and safety features are being followed, and that they have confidence in the access equipment, and the safety systems.
Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs)
Equipment such as modern Scissor and Boom lifts provide a reliable, flexible and easy to operate access system which has the safety system built in. This type of equipment can provide a very sturdy platform at just the right required height, as well as giving solid guard rail protection to those using it, thus minimising the risk of falls.
Chris Evans of Surrey based supplier of hoists and ancillary equipment Hoist & Plant Co.Ltd comments:
“We supply the kinds of modern hoists and lifts that are technologically advanced and make it much easier for workers to keep and feel safe. This type of equipment is very flexible, effective and safe (as long as operating and safety advice is followed). Standing on a solid, sturdy platform that can be quickly and easily raised or lowered gives people confidence to work well at heights.
Scissor and Boom Lifts (Cherry Pickers) are really popular because they work consistently well, they’re affordable to hire, and they free contractors from the many risks that are associated with other more old fashioned, time consuming and expensive access methods such as scaffolding, or large and unsteady ladders. If you had work at heights ask yourself what access and safety equipment you would prefer - some wobbly scaffolding and ladders or modern scissor lift? "
For more information call Hoist & Plant Co.Ltd on 0845 8800790 or visit http://www.hoistandplant.co.uk.
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