Disregard for using personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the common causes of workplace incidents, accidents and fatalities resulting from falls from height at sites in South Africa, states the Institute for Working at Height Professional Body (IWH PB).
This, the IWH PB adds, is aggravated by the breaching of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and all its regulations by industry.
PPE products’ are continuously evolving, the IWH PB notes; however, standards for manufacturing generally remain the same.
Therefore, the IWH PB is aiming to address the challenges in the working-at-height PPE industry through collaboration with stakeholders, which will, in turn, “facilitate positive change as well as an improved safety culture across all these industries”.
To facilitate this initiative and promote awareness, the IWH PB says, companies need to be alert to the fact that they are required, by law, to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including all its encompassing regulations.
“The IWH PB not only issues Good Practice Notes to promote safety awareness in the industry but also recommends that employers in the relevant industries review the Working at Height Safety Guidelines, which were developed and launched last year.”
Equipment standards include, but are not limited to, the South African National Standard (SANS) 1397 for industrial safety helmets, SANS 50341 for descender devices, SANS 50358 for belts for work positioning and restraint, as well as work positioning lanyards, SANS 50361 for full body harness PPE against falls from height; and SANS 50362 for connectors, as well as the International Organisation for Standardisation 22846 standard – part one and two.
“One of the main objectives of the IWH is to ensure compliance and, in turn, safety within the work-at-height industry,” the IWH PB concludes.