Podium steps were an instant success when they became available several years ago. The big contractors specified them, the hire companies couldn’t get enough of them and tower scaffold courses were fast losing delegates.
So What Is So Good About Podium Steps?
Well, they’re small(ish), they’re easy to put up, the person putting them up doesn’t need an erectors certificate and they provide access to the height of a hop-up the number one nemesis of the clipboard welding safety manager.
So Why is Their Safety Questionable?
Because an increasing number of operatives, mainly electricians and painters, are falling from them. Injuries sustained recently include broken arms, torn ligaments and sprained ankles.
How? If they’re so safe How are people getting injured?
There’s two reasons. Human error and Equipment Failure. The steps may not have been erected correctly, they may not be used properly ie, hopping up and down rather than using steps or not locking the gate or it could be an uneven surface, cramped conditions or lack of working at height awareness by the operative. Just look at them though. There’s a lot of handrail and a lot of opportunity for reaching heights higher than the platform will allow if an operative stands on the frame.
So How To Avoid Accidents With Podium Steps.
1. Undertake a working at height risk assessment to ascertain if Podium steps are the best means of access AND the best fall protection measure.
2. Ensure the workplace is suitable. Clear floors, sufficient space for accessing and exiting the platform, good lighting.
3. Train operatives how to erect the structure correctly. Ensure they know how to erect and dismantle it safely.
4. Train operatives in Work at Height Awareness. Some people have terrible spacial awareness which leads to clumsiness and falls. By training everyone in working at height, hazards are identified and standard control measures explained so working at height awareness is raised and accidents will reduce.
You can read more about Working at Height Risk Assessments here and download a free risk assessment form.