On any given day within your warehouse, the odds that an employee will have to climb a ladder or some other piece of equipment to grab an item or do some work could be, well, high. However, many may not realize just how potentially hazardous even one mistake while working at height can be — after all, it's "just climbing a ladder," right?
But as you likely know full well, this is a highly dangerous issue for your employees and one you need to be proactive about creating a safety culture around such work. That should include the following issues:
1) Give employees specific training on everything they need to know
Anyone who will have to work at height during the course of their work should receive proper training around how to do it safely, and that should also apply to their "spotters," according to Mazzella Companies. Simply put, if someone hasn't gone through such a session, they should not be allowed to climb a ladder as part of their work.
2) Carefully plan every task that involves height
In most cases, you'll know when a person will have to use a ladder or lift, and you need to have a plan in place for every such task, Mazzella Companies said. While you don't necessarily need to plan each task, you should at least have a specific framework for any given effort, so employees know, "I have to do [insert task here] at height, here's what I need to do at every step."
3) Know what constitutes height
While there are quite a few tasks in the warehouse that may take your employees rather high up on any given ladder or lift, "working at height" starts at just four feet, according to Safety By Design. Clearly defining what this means for all employees so they don't start working at height without realizing it. In general, a good rule of thumb is, "If you don't have at least one foot on the ground, that's working at height."
4) Provide all necessary protection
Just like any other task under your roof, you should give your employees everything they need to do their jobs with minimal risk, Safety By Design said. In these situations, that includes guardrails and PPE, which will be vital for ensuring that even if an employee does slip or stumble, there's that needed extra layer of protection that will potentially keep them quite safe, even if the situation gets a little bit scary.
5) Know the right equipment for the job
Along similar lines, your employees should always know exactly what they will use to get up to the right height, and remain there as safely as possible, according to Advanced Consulting and Training. For instance, experts recommend that you use a free-standing ladder only for quick and easy tasks, and things like lifts or rolling ladders (that obviously should be locked into place as needed) should be employed for more involved work.