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4 Tips for Dealing with the Mental Strains of Work at Height

Let’s assume you’ve arrived on our blog page for a simple reason; you work at height and would like a few pointers on how to deal with the mental challenges faced by people in your position.

We offer fall arrest safety training, and whilst we can’t cure a lifelong phobia of heights, we can offer sensible, sound on advice on how best to cope with heights, what to look out for in others and keeping up to date with industry happenings.

1.    Be honest with yourself and your co-workers Height safety cannot be governed by pride. Pride really does come before a fall, so always be honest about fears, risks and trepidations or the faller could be you or even a co-worker.  It’s not unusual for a person to develop a sudden fear of heights, or even for anxious feelings to develop slowly over time. But, as with many fears, it’s usually possible to fix the problem with great advice, support and honesty.

2.    Keep tabs on maintenance It may not be your job, but keeping faith in someone else doing their maintenance job properly can help quell nerves. Folks with a fear of flying are often advised to learn exactly how a plane works – the physics of the thing – and the same can be said for working at height. It may not be your job to check scaffold tags, but a familiarity with the ins and outs of peripheral elements of your job is crucial to feeling mentally and physically secure. A recent program by National Rail urged better communication between experts and contractors to boost safety; take the initiative and learn.

3.    Head high in your own time For the average novice employee working at height and training for a career, opportunities to develop the mental strength to handle heights could help grow confidence and so on. We assume most people looking forward to a career in a fall arrest harness aren’t strictly afraid of heights, but it can help anyway. Head up some of the UK’s amazing mountain ridges like Snowdon’s Crib Goch or Blencathra in the Lake District. Or spend some solo time bouldering to build the confidence in your own body.

4.    Always be on the lookout for improvements Changes in legislation, new products, cutting edge technologies – improving safety when working at height is an ongoing issue, so keep your mind engaged in seeking out new solutions. Being mentally able is about strength of mind, and few things strengthen the mind more effectively than experience, interest and learning.

Work at height will always be something that carries risks, but acute mental strength is perhaps one of the most significant ways to minimise the dangers. Through personal skill development and sharp attention to environmental risk assessment, developing the most effective head for heights can boost safety, not only for you, but for your co-workers and the public.

11th July 2012 3:28 pm

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