“What can I expect from a Working at Height Risk Assessment visit to my facility?”
This is a question Mazzella Fall Protection Specialists hear from customers all the time, and the answer is lengthy, but simple at the same time. We’re going to come in and look at your facility, talk with you and your team and begin to understand what your employees do at height, as well as what height hazards they might be exposed to. This will help with the creation of a roadmap for your compliance with industry fall protection standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That means Fall Protection Specialists are going to:
- Tour your facility
- Ask key employees questions about how you do what you do
- Review any existing fall restraint or fall arrest systems for compliance
By taking these steps, you’ll have a roadmap to compliance for your facility, and good Fall Protection Specialists won’t stop there. If they notice areas of concern, they’re going to mention them. Then, they can write up a report that spells out those points of concern and what can be done to make them compliant.
You want to get the most value for your money when obtaining quotes for a fall protection solution. When getting an accurate quote, it is important to understand your building’s:
- Work done at height
- Accurate measurements
All of these factors will be considered during a working at height risk assessment. In this article, you will learn what information is needed to create an accurate assessment of your facility.
What Happens During a Working at Height Risk Assessment?
When Fall Protection Specialists enter your facility, be it a jobsite, manufacturing plant, or anything in-between, the first thing they will do is assess the basic physical surroundings of your environment.
Then, they want to gain an understanding of what you’re doing at height, and how you’re doing it. To gain this information, they will ask questions similar to the following:
- What’s the hazard your employees are exposed to?
- What are your workers doing at height?
- How often are they working at height?
- Are your workers trained for working at height?
- What’s the range of motion for the workers while they’re at height?
- Do you have a JSA (Job Safety Analysis)?
- Do you have a safety manager?
What Does a Review of a JSA Do for You?
A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment—and identifies hazards before they occur. Basically, it’s an outline of how you do what you do safely. If Fall Protection Specialists know what you do and how you do it safely, they can help you improve it.
One of the first things you can do to help keep your jobsite safe is begin identifying hazards. OSHA defines a hazard as a condition, or a set of circumstances, that present a potential for harm. A hazard is often associated with a condition or activity that will cause illness (health hazards) or physical harm or injury (safety hazards).
Hazards are the main cause of occupational health and safety problems. The single most effective way to assess safety management on your jobsite or facility is to perform a JSA.
Performing a job safety analysis is truly invaluable. By controlling or eliminating hazards in the workplace, you help reduce the risk of an accident. Think about how quickly the costs of a workplace accident or fatality can add up, including:
- Lost wages
- Workers’ compensation
- Low employee morale
- Decrease in productivity
- Workforce shortages
- Potential legal fees and OSHA fines
What Questions Are Asked During a Working at Height Risk Assessment?
Mazzella Fall Protection Case Study: How a Mobile Home Manufacturer Became OSHA Fall Protection Compliant
During a Working at Height Risk Assessment, Fall Protection Specialists ask many questions, all designed around getting the best solution(s) for your needs.
When filling out a Mazzella Working At Height Risk Assessment (WHRA) form, you will be asked the following “yes” or “no” questions:
- Can you work from the ground or a solid construction?
- Can you work from scaffolding?
- Are your anchor points pre-engineered?
- Have your anchor points been inspected before you use them?
- Is there a horizontal static line in place?
- Can you work in restraint?
- Are you working in fall arrest, and have you calculated fall distance and swing fall?
- Is your staff competent and current to work at heights?
Additionally, you will be asked about the following potential hazards:
- What are the conditions of the work surface?
- How do weather conditions affect the work surface?
- What is the access point to the area?
- Is the location near power lines?
- Does the work surface change while in use?
- Are you working near an open edge, and if so, what’s the potential fall distance?
- What’s the angle of the roof?
- Are anchorage points tagged and current?
- Are there skylights or brittle roof areas?
- Is the working surface located in an area that could be affected by falling objects?
During the WHRA, Fall Protection Specialists will make sure to list the following:
- Emergency contact numbers
- Required personal protective equipment (PPE) for working at height
- Emergency rescue plans
Why Is a Tour of Your Facility Required During a WHRA?
The end goal of Fall Protection Specialists is to make you OSHA compliant. That includes potentially eliminating the hazard altogether. However, if you don’t address something right away, it is important that you understand the hazard exists and take steps to solve it.
By conducting a walk-through of your plant or construction site, they may notice other things that aren’t in compliance with OSHA and ASME standards.
That could be anything such as, but not limited to:
- Slip, trip, or fall hazards
- Fixed ladders with no fall protection
- Improper midrails and top guardrails
- Crane runways
Inspections of Existing Equipment
If you have existing fall protection equipment, it needs to be inspected annually. Also, workers using those systems must be trained in the use of that particular equipment.
While there may be a lot of questions for you to answer, Fall Protection Specialists are doing their research to inform their team, including engineers, to help get you compliant and make sure your hazards are controlled or eliminated. The key is to answer questions thoroughly, as it may take several visits and / or phone calls to gather the information needed to get you the correct system.
In order to back up the information gained through conversations, Fall Protection Specialists need to take pictures of the hazards and your facilities. They will take photos of the following:
- Ceiling and the roof area of the height hazard
- Wall areas adjacent to the height hazard
- Floor area directly below the height hazard
- Structural steel on or near the height hazard
- Access for installation purposes
- Dock doors
If old fall protection equipment needs to be removed, they will take pictures of the equipment being replaced as well. This will help Fall Protection Specialists and engineers understand what your needs are, and how they can work to protect your employees at height.
Building drawings would be helpful in determining what fall protection solutions will work for you. If you have drawings or blueprints, giving copies of those plans to your Fall Protection Specialist will help the process go smoother and ensure a more accurate quote and project proposal.
How Can Mazzella Help With Your Fall Protection Needs?
In addition to Working at Height Risk Assessments, Mazzella has custom-configured several types of fall protection systems for businesses that have diverse needs based on their working conditions. Also, we are a distributor of mobile fall protection units and have helped several customers select and use this equipment in the field.
Mazzella is a leading supplier and installer of engineered fall protection systems in the U.S., as well as a distributor of soft goods, including harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines, scaffolding and netting. All of our engineered systems and products meet or exceed the federal criteria required by OSHA and ANSI and can be customized with your individual fall protection and financial needs in mind.
Mazzella specializes in site analysis and evaluation, as well as employee training for equipment installed or products sold. Also, we offer general training, system inspection, documentation storage, and procedure development, like rescue plans.
Rigging inspections are what Mazzella is known for. However, personal fall protection inspections pair well with our rigging inspection division.
What our rigging inspectors have found over the years is that while looking at all of the rigging in a facility, many of the workers using this rigging also use personal fall protection. Through our personal fall protection inspection training, we are competent to conduct these inspections.
Call us at 800.362.4601 or click here if you need harnesses or other fall protection equipment!
Mazzella is a leading supplier and installer of engineered fall protection systems in the U.S., as well as a distributor of soft goods like harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines, scaffolding and netting. All of our engineered systems and products meet or exceed the federal criteria required by OSHA and ANSI and can be customized with your individual fall protection and financial needs in mind.
We specialize in site analysis and evaluation, as well as employee training for equipment installed or products sold. Also, Mazzella offers general training, system inspection, documentation storage, and procedure development, like rescue plans.
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