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Working at height

Working at height Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were introduced in a bid to prevent death and injury caused by falls from height, therefore minimising risks to workers. Employers, facilities managers, building owners and anyone else that controls work at height, including the self-employed can be held responsible should an accident occur and they would be liable if an accident occurred and the equipment was found to be faulty or uncertified.

Responsibility

These individuals and organisations have a legal responsibility to ensure that the Work at Height Regulations 2005 are implemented and that all activity is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent persons. They are also responsible for ensuring that fall protection systems for Work at Height are inspected regularly, at a maximum 12 monthly intervals, but more frequently when working in hazardous environments and that the appropriate Work at Height equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided.  Workers should also receive appropriate training in the use of that equipment and whilst they are in training with the equipment, they should be properly supervised.

Risk Assessment

First assess the risks. Factors to weigh up include the height of the task, the duration and frequency, and the condition of the surface being worked on. Before working at height work through these simple steps:

  • Avoid work at height where it’s reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment.
  • Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated.

Identify the cause

Experience shows that falls from height usually occur as a result of poor management control rather than because of equipment failure.

  • Failure to recognise a problem
  • Failure to provide safe systems of work
  • Failure to ensure that safe systems of work are followed
  • Inadequate information, instruction, training or supervision provided
  • Failure to use appropriate equipment
  • Failure to provide safe plant/equipment

 

The Regulations impose an overriding principle on employers that they do everything reasonably practicable to prevent falls. They apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. This means more than just building construction and maintenance activities.

Training

When staff are happy and confident in a job they tend work better. By providing employees with the relevant training they need, the business will benefit too and staff will appreciate the investment in their health and education and will continue to work hard. When health and safety comes first, and employees receive the proper training, the working environment transforms and safe practices become second nature to everyone and colleagues look out for each other.

For further information on working at height or any other health and safety requirements, please contact us here.

 

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