Working in Restraint & Work Positioning
Work positioning is a term that is commonly used when working at height to define a positioning in which a person can place themselves that removes the immediate risk of a fall hazard. Work positioning can be ‘Working in Restraint’ when working in a horizontal plane or ‘Working in Suspension’ when working in a vertical orientation.
Either way, work positioning is intended to reduce the risk of a fall by limiting a person’s ability to get into a place where they can fall, as there are physical barriers or equipment that can be implemented to achieve this aim.
(a) Fall Arrest Work Positioning – Working in Restraint
The principle of work in restraint is best illustrated through diagrams. It is simplest form, working in restraint means the means by which a person is ‘restrained’ or prevented from being able to get into a place where a fall can occur.
When work tasks require a safety harness to be worn, the practice of work in restraint is to be used wherever possible to reduce the injury risk from a fall.
(b) Work positioning via suspension (e.g. Confined space entry)
For work that may be required to be completed in a confined space, it may be suitable to lower a person into the environment utilising a man-rated mechanical winching system. This is called working in suspension, as the person it literally suspended in the air when the tasks are being complete. Working in suspension in this way means that a rescue can be performed easily by a stand-by rescuer, winching the person to safety.
(c) Rope Access Work Positioning
A rope access technician has the primary intention of accessing a location in a vertical plane, by positioning themselves to perform work whilst suspended in a harness. This method of access requires specialty equipment and more important significant training to be effective. As its name suggests, twin rope access involves the use of twin ropes – one which is the primary or main working rope line, the second being the redundant, secondary line that acts as an emergency line in the event the first working line fails.