Work Restraint

Video 34 of 42
4 min 18 sec
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First and foremost, of working at height is, if we can avoid working at height, we must avoid it. Sometimes, though, it is not a case where we can avoid working at height, so we need to follow what is known as the hierarchy of control. What follows not being able to avoid working from height is being in a work restraint position. This is where it allows us to get close to the working edge where we are at height, but not being able to physically fall down from that height.

So, what we are going to demonstrate here is one piece of kit that can be used or utilised to allow us to get close to the edge, but not physically fall off that edge whilst carrying out a task. For us to be able to do that, first of all, we need to find a good, solid, anchor point, where we can attach our equipment knowing that it will substantially hold our weight. Even though we are in work restraint, we still need to make sure it is a really good anchor point. Now, I do have a carabiner in my hand, which is what I have used for attaching this piece of equipment to either good solid anchor points or I-rings. But because, obviously, I cannot get that to fit where I am going to use as my anchor point, what I would do is incorporate a sling.

So, what I am going to do now is I am going to wrap the sling around where my anchor point is going to be, which I know is substantially strong enough to take the weight of a person, bring it together, so as I have got an equal pull on it. I am going to get my carabiner here, which is a screw-gate carabiner, I am going to feed it through my sling, and then make sure that I do screw the gate. Now, it is attached here, because what is going to happen is, we are going to simulate walking out to an edge where there is a potential for a fall. Unfortunately, because under the training circumstances here, we have not got an edge where we can actually demonstrate that, we are going to do it on the ground level and we have laid a piece of rope across the floor to simulate the edge. So, what we are going to demonstrate here now is, I am going to attach this to my colleague here, and he is going to demonstrate how he can walk towards the edge, and then put himself in what is known as work restraint.

How that works is by operating this device here, by squeezing the handle down to allow him to feed the rope through, to get close enough to the edge, but not so as he can potentially take that fall. Once he gets near to where he wants to work, if he releases it, it will not allow him to go any further. But he must take into consideration the length here, as well as the length of the rope when he is going towards the edge. So, we will attach to Jim now. Screw the gate up to make sure that it is locked in place. And what he will do now is he will demonstrate walking towards the rope, squeeze the handle towards me, Jim, if need be. No, it is locked off. Do not want it under tension, we just want slackness in it. But as you can see, when he put a little bit of tension on, he physically cannot go over that edge.

So, he would just take a slight step back so there is a slack in the system. He is fine where he was. That will do there, Jim. You can go down. Now, you can bend down and carry out the work you needed to do, without putting tension on the system. Once the job has been done, all he would do then is making his way back by squeezing the handle. It will allow him to come back down the rope, away from the edge. And finally, once the task has been carried out, obviously, you will come away from the edge and you will stow the kit away correctly. Just to take into account the fact that, obviously, depending on what job you're doing, sometimes it might be preferable rather than having it attached to your front fall arrest point here, it might be beneficial to attach it to the back to allow you a little bit more freedom to carry out your task.