Using a safe working platform is a requirement when working at height. Since work at height comes with high risk, a safe working platform should be considered in order to carry out all height jobs safely.
working platform according to the “Work at Height Regulations 2005“, is defined as any surface from which work can be carried out, or as a means of access to or egress from a place of work.
Types of working platforms
- Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)
- Stepladders and stairways
These working platforms are termed “Safe working platform” when they pose zero risk to its user.
Qualities of a safe working platform
For the working platform to be safe, it must:
- Be of sufficient size to allow safe passage and use of equipment and materials.
- Must be free from trip hazards or gaps.
- Must be clean and tidy
- Must be suitable for the task at hand
- Must be fitted with handrails and toe boards where necessary.
- Must not be overloaded
- Must be erected on firm level ground to ensure that equipment remains stable.
- Must have safe access to and egress from the platform
Many serious injuries have been reported which was caused by persons falling from work platforms where the distance of fall was less than 2 metres. This is one of the reason the 2 metre rule has been revoked and protection must be provided for persons working in any place where a fall could cause injury.
Read Also: Working at height risk assessment
When considering a safe platform, it may go beyond the general qualities as highlighted above, there may be other qualifications based on the type of the working platform; hence the choice of working platform is very important.
Safety measure to be adopted when working on a work platform
- Ensure that all working platforms are inspected always before use.
- Never alter any component of the working platforms, like the guard rails, toe boards, floor boards, etc.
- Never try to extend to area not covered by the working platform.
- Do not use an auxiliary means to extend the height of the working platform, except it is certified safe to do so.
- Never use the guard rail to climb unto the platform, use approved means of access.
- Never position on an unsafe location of the platform to work.
- Do not use the platform outside the purpose it was designed for.
- Use the right platform for the right job – Do not use ladder when the job required a scaffold; do not use a scaffold when the job required an aerial lift (like MEWP).
- Ensue that the platform is well secured in cases of scaffold.
- Ensure adequate planking in case of scaffolds and trestles.
- Ensure that only trained operators operated the powered MEWP; MEWP risk assessment and MEWP rescue plan should also be in place.
- Use adequate PPE – Like your oil/water resistant safety boots, personal restrain system, hard hat, etc.
- Always keep the working platform tidy, and never overload the working platform.
Read Also: Working at height safety procedures
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