The Natural Environment
There is often a need to perform work at height in natural environments, particularly in areas frequented by the public. Constant exposure to the elements creates natural wear and tear with the combination of moving water, wind, heat and other weather events creating erosion and ground instability which can result in public safety hazards. Accessing these areas to maintain, repair and prevent further damage is part of ongoing environmental management processes present problems that must be addressed be able to conduct work at height safely,
Some examples of the works which may require working at height solutions include slope stabilisation to maintain and protect roadways, pedestrian walkways, weed control, revegetation and assorted works to secure and protect assets.
The sporting and tourism industry sectors often benefit from utilising working at height methods to access difficult to reach areas and to build and maintain public areas.
In addition to surface management and maintenance, there is also underground applications which require a unique approach to safety management processes.
This type underground environment is most common in the Mining Sector, and is subject to constant change as a mine develops. With continuous operational expansion, those working at height need to be aware of this constantly changing three-dimensional situation. Mining levels frequently vary and a worker does not usually have a visible horizon for orientation.
Underground workers may need to work in or near steeply inclined openings, each with its own unique characteristics and risks. Workers may also be at height during activities such as rise development, working in ladderways or servicing plant. Apart from the potential exposure to falls and falling objects (e.g. loose rock, equipment, tools, materials) when working at height, an additional risk to those workers using work platforms underground is that they can be injured if caught between a rising platform and backs (i.e. roof or upper part) or sidewall of the drive.
Some WAHA Member Companies perform operational services in the Natural Environment sector and are available for consultation.