Men with personal protection equipment in scaffolding | © Jenny Thörnberg

Lifting KnowHow - CERTEX Danmark A/S

Risks when working at heights

When working at heights, it is important to assess all risks in advance. For the fall protection to save you in the event of a fall, there are three factors you need to take into account: fall factor, fall height and pendulum risk.

Fall factor

The term fall factor is used to assess the risk when working in an environment where there is a risk of falling. The fall factor is used to assess the fall height to which the user may be exposed in the event of a fall. The user can thus ensure that there is no risk of contact with a lower level (ground or ledge).

The user should strive to have as high an anchorage point as possible; this should correspond to a low fall factor. This is because a high anchorage point reduces the fall height and thus also the risk of injury in the event of a fall. In situations where the fall factor is greater than 1 or if the freedom of movement is greater than 0.6 m, fall protection equipment with shock-absorbing function must be used.

Fall height

For fall protection to have the desired effect, there must be a free space under the user so that the equipment can break the fall. The fall height depends on which equipment is selected as well as where the anchorage point is placed. The fall height can be minimized by selecting fall protection blocks. How the fall height is calculated can be seen in the figure below.

Pendulum swing risk

The anchorage point of the fall protection system must be placed vertically above the user, however, a maximum of 15 degrees angle, to prevent pendulum swing in the event of a fall, which can cause injury to the user. If it is not possible to anchor the fall arrest system near the workplace, a point on each side of the user can be used to anchor to and thereby prevent pendulum swing in case of a fall. This can be with a double line or double fall arrest block. With roofing, the risk of pendulum swing can be reduced by placing the anchorage point in a corner, 2.5 m from each edge.

Man with fall protection in scaffolding | © Jenny Thörnberg

Examples fall factor when working at heights

It is recommended to use a climbing helmet with a chin strap, to prevent head injuries in the event of a drop!

More articles about fall protection

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