What Are Work Positioning Systems In Construction?

June 2, 2023


Construction work is a high-risk job, and the chances of accidents are high. One of the main risks in construction is falling from heights, which can result in serious injuries or even death.

For instance, about 19 of 102 incidents reported from a sample of 559 companies in 2021 resulted from scaffolding. The rest were due to mobile plants such as cranes and excavators.

Fortunately, accidents like these can be prevented. One way to do so is by ensuring that your team uses safety equipment, such as work positioning systems. These are designed to secure workers in safe positions as they work at heights.

This article will discuss the different types of work positioning systems available and why they’re essential for safety on scaffolds

What Are Work Positioning Systems?

A work positioning system is a type of fall protection system used in construction to keep workers safe while working at heights. Its primary purpose is to prevent falls by securing the worker in a safe position and minimising the risk of injury or death.

It consists of a harness, a lanyard, and an anchor point. The worker dons a harness that is an essential component of the work positioning system, and it is attached to the anchor point using a lanyard. The anchor provides a secure point that can hold the weight of the worker and is attached to a stable structure, such as a scaffold.

The lanyard is adjustable, so it allows the worker to move around the scaffold while staying connected to the anchor point. This allows the worker to go about their tasks in a safe position without the risk of falling.

Types Of Work Positioning Systems
When it comes to choosing a work positioning system, there are several types available to suit different needs and situations. The most common types include:

  • Rope Work Positioning System: One type of work positioning system is the rope system, which uses a rope to keep the worker in a safe position. It provides the worker with good mobility, flexibility, and safety.
  • Belt Work Positioning System: This system uses a belt to keep the worker in position. The belt provides better support to the lower back, minimising the risk of strain and injury in that area.
  • Retractable Work Positioning System: A retractable work positioning system uses a retractable lanyard. It has a fast-acting fall arrest capability that effectively reduces the risk of injuries or death.

How To Create A Work Positioning System
Creating this system requires careful planning and consideration of the specific requirements of the job and the worker’s needs. Here are the general steps to create a work positioning system:

  1. Identify The Specific Job Requirements
    Before creating a work positioning system, it is essential to identify the specific requirements of the job. This includes the height at which the work will be performed, the type of work to be done, the duration of the job, and the weight of the worker and equipment.
  2. Choose The Appropriate Work Positioning System
    Once the job requirements have been identified, choose the appropriate work positioning system. This could be a rope work positioning system, belt work positioning system, retractable work positioning system, work positioning seat, or work positioning rope grab. Each system has its own strengths, and choosing the right one is crucial for ensuring worker safety and productivity.
  3. Select The Appropriate Equipment
    For a safe and effective work positioning system, the equipment must be compatible with the chosen system and meet the specific requirements of the job and worker. This includes selecting a harness that fits well, a lanyard that is adjustable, and an anchor point that can hold the weight of the worker and equipment.
  4. Install The Anchor Point
    The anchor point must be installed in a secure location that can hold the weight of the worker and equipment. It is essential to choose a stable structure, such as a scaffold or a roof anchor, to attach the anchor point. It must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and all relevant safety standards. It is also important to test the anchor point to ensure that it is secure before allowing the worker to use the work positioning system.
  5. Fit The Harness And Lanyard
    Fit the harness and lanyard to the worker. The harness should fit snugly and comfortably, and the lanyard should be adjustable to allow the worker to move around the scaffold while still staying connected to the anchor point.
  6. Train The Worker
    Before the worker starts using the work positioning system, they should be trained in how to properly use it. This includes knowing how to fit the harness and lanyard, how to adjust the lanyard, and how to move around the scaffold safely.
  7. Inspect The System Regularly
    Regularly inspect the work positioning system to ensure that it is in good condition and functioning properly. This includes inspecting the harness, lanyard, anchor point, and any other equipment.

Importance Of Work Positioning Systems

There is no denying that work positioning systems are essential in construction. Here are some of the benefits of using them in your project.

  • It prevents falls. Work positioning systems are designed to prevent falls by keeping workers securely attached to an anchor point. While scaffolding provides a stable platform for workers to perform their tasks, a work positioning system can ensure better safety. Even scaffolding labour hire companies would recommend using this in conjunction with scaffolding to provide additional protection against falls.
  • It increases productivity. When workers feel safe and secure, they can focus on their tasks and work more efficiently. Work positioning systems allow workers to move around freely without worrying about their safety, leading to an increase in productivity.
  • It ensures compliance with regulations. Many industries have regulations that require workers to use work positioning systems when working at heights. Compliance with these regulations is essential for avoiding penalties and ensuring worker safety.
  • It’s customisable. Work positioning systems can be customised to fit the specific needs of different jobs and workers. This includes choosing the appropriate system, equipment, and anchor points based on the job requirements and workers’ needs.
  • It’s cost-effective. While work positioning systems require an initial investment, they are cost-effective in the long run. By preventing falls and injuries, work positioning systems can reduce the cost of workers’ compensation claims and lost productivity due to accidents.
  • It’s versatile. Work positioning systems can be used in a variety of industries and settings, including construction, maintenance, and window cleaning. They can be used on different types of structures, such as buildings, bridges, and towers.

Work positioning systems are an essential component of fall protection in the construction industry. They keep workers safe while working at heights and prevent falls from occurring, reducing the risk of injury and death. There are several types of work positioning systems available, including rope work positioning systems, belt work positioning systems, and retractable work positioning systems. By choosing the appropriate system, equipment, and anchor points, workers can work more comfortably and efficiently, reducing the risk of injury and improving productivity.