Author:ruaan-breedt

Suspension trauma can kill you!

Suspension trauma can kill you! 14th Nov 2022 Suspension trauma, also known as harness hang syndrome, suspension syndrome, or suspension syncope, is a life-threatening condition that occurs after a fall when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time. If an individual is strapped into a harness this condition will occur more rapidly and, if not rescued in time, the individual will eventually faint. Fainting while remaining vertical increases the risk of death from […]

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Top 10 guidance tips on fall protection

Top 10 guidance tips on fall protection 14th Oct 2022 South Africa’s legislation is unique:  we are one of the only countries that doesn’t have exclusive regulations for activities when working at height. As a result, we rely on subject matter experts to produce information and guidelines of good practice that can be followed to remain safe. Here are the top 10 guidance tips for working at heights and bolstering safety for companies and their workers. 1. Competence is key […]

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Working at height and ergonomics

Working at height and ergonomics 12th Aug 2022 Many risks can be identified if you use an “ergonomic lens” to look at various work environments, from office spaces to employees hanging from a high-rise. In 2019, the South African government published its first regulations for ergonomics, including the following definition: “Ergonomics means the scientific discipline concerned with the fundamental understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods […]

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Best practice: anchor points

Best practice: anchor points 24th Jun 2022 Anchor points are designed to catch a person or hold them in place after they’ve fallen, so that they don’t hit the ground. You shouldn’t only be interested in stopping a fall. It is important to ensure the least possible amount of injury to the worker after their fall has been stopped. From the earliest days of man starting to conquer mountains, some of the most basic equipment and terminology involved identifying ropes […]

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Arrest vs restraint: how to combat fall risks

Arrest vs restraint: how to combat fall risks 19th Apr 2022 Those who work at heights are exposed to various fall risks. It is important to understand when and how these risks can be controlled. In this piece, our columnist takes a look at two forms of fall protection Fall protection is an overarching term for fall arrest, fall restraint, and fall prevention. It is important to understand the distinction between these designations, as this will define both the equipment […]

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Changing vs crossing over: what is the difference?

Changing vs crossing over: what is the difference? 8th Feb 2022 There is always a possibility that workers will have to change or cross over between various systems to complete their tasks while working at height. It is vital that these two manoeuvres are performed safely. As per the European Standard EN 636 “Personal fall arrest systems”, there are a variety of systems that can be used to work at height. These include restraint systems, work positioning systems, rope access […]

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Fall factors and forces

Fall factors and forces 10th Dec 2021 No matter what measures are in place to prevent it, there is still a possibility that a person could accidentally fall. When persons fall from a height, their bodies and equipment generate energy. The greater the fall distance, the greater the energy that they will produce. This energy is known as “fall force” or “impact force”, and it can be life-threatening if it is too great. Fall factors are simple equations that are […]

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Confined spaces at heights

Confined spaces at heights 15th Oct 2021 Small and enclosed areas are not only found in underground industries like the mining sector. There are a number of above-ground environments that are also considered confined, including silos, water tanks, wind turbines, manholes and storage bins. These are often accessed for maintenance, installation and restoration, and can require work to take place more than 10 m above the ground. They are, in fact, doubly hazardous, as the requirements both of work at […]

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The ABCDs of fall protection

The ABCDs of fall protection 20th Aug 2021 The range of fall-protection equipment is so large that it can be difficult to decide what to choose to keep employees safe while they’re working at heights. Here is a simple tool for dispelling this confusion – the ABCDs of fall protection. It’s vital to have the correct equipment, training and supervision in place for working at heights, but sometimes, faced with all the choices, companies procure either too little (the bare […]

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Working at heights: anchor points and lifelines

Working at heights: anchor points and lifelines 16th Jun 2021 Anchor points and lifelines are common pieces of equipment used when working at heights. Each plays a role in ensuring workers remain safe while accessing elevated positions where there is a risk of a fall, but they are not interchangeable. That means it is important to know which to use in a particular circumstance. Here is a brief overview of the two pieces of equipment, and which applications they’re best […]

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