What is the difference between a construction worker without a hard hat, and an elevated construction worker without fall protection?
There is no difference, both construction workers are putting themselves at risk of serious injury.
There are several pieces of equipment used in construction that are incredibly useful, and, without them, many aspects of construction could not be performed. For example, aerial lifts and bucket trucks. However, as useful as these machines are, they can be very dangerous if all safety precautions are not followed and observed. When any platform is elevated, all employees involved should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. This includes hard hats, in order to protect against being struck by objects, a safety shield on your hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and, of course, fall protection.
Fall protection is especially important to wear when elevated. Any fall can lead to a serious injury, or even death. Appropriate fall protection is made up of three components, none of which should ever be excluded. These components include: full body harness or body belt (depending on the application), a lanyard, and an anchorage point. Always wear a harness with a lanyard and make sure it is connected at all times to the designated anchorage point. You should only tie off at designated points of the aerial lift, as these points are designed to withstand the load of an arrested fall.
Take a look at the attached picture and see if you can point out the hazards in this particular use of the bucket truck.
While it may be hard to see, there are at least two hazards involved in this situation. One, the worker is standing on a tool box in order to get a better reach. Two, he was not wearing fall protection.
If the area that needs work can not be reached with a certain piece of equipment, such as a bucket truck, a different machine should be used. You should never stand on any object in order to elevate yourself even further, as that will increase your chances of falling.
Also, according to standards, you should wear fall protection anytime you are six or more feel above ground level. In the case of boom lifts and bucket trucks, you should get in the habit of donning your gear and tying in immediately upon entering the bucket.
If safety standards are not followed, it increases the likelihood of accidents and injury in the workplace. Be sure you are properly trained, and help keep you and those around you safe.
Training Kits are available for bucket trucks, aerial lifts, and many other machines and equipment.
Online (e-learning) training courses are also available, as well as