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On The Edge

Having fall protection systems in place is no guarantee that you are legally compliant or that your employees or contractors are safe when working at height. And if a person falls from a height of around two metres, the likelihood is that they will sustain serious and life changing injuries. Anything above this and there is a serious risk of fatality.

Despite the obvious dangers, there is still a requirement of people to work at height and this isn’t just restricted to roofs. Other everyday activities include working over tanks and pits, at the edge of elevated structures, or on top of vehicles or trailers, as well as specific tasks, such as window cleaning, decorating and general maintenance.

When falls do occur, they tend to have one thing in common – those who undertook the job did so without adequate training, planning or equipment.

When a fall from height occurs, employers, facility managers, building owners and anyone else that controls work at height can be held responsible. As such these individuals and organisations have a legal duty to ensure that Personal Fall Protection Systems are in place and that they are re-certified by a competent person as a minimum once a year and for some equipment, more often.

The legal duties and obligations around working at height are covered by a variety of legislation. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 is the main one and encourages the avoidance of working at height if possible and where it cannot be avoided, the best practicable means of carrying out the work safely.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you should have a Rescue Policy, Risk Assessment and the necessary rescue equipment in place for all work at height activities. In addition, fully trained personnel need to be available on site ready to use this equipment and, if required, to complete a rescue should a fall occur.

If you are the dutyholder responsible for work at height activity, it is important to commission the services of a competent company that can assess the risks appropriately in accordance with the work at height hierarchy. Competency to carry out services in this specialist area of health and safety can be demonstrated by certification (EN365 sets out clear guidance as to the required capabilities of the person carrying out periodic examination of work at height systems), as well as on-site experience.

Heightsafe Systems specialises in all aspects of working at height. From initial risk assessment to supply, installation and testing of equipment as well as training and re-certification. To ensure that your employees stay safe, call us today on: 020 3819 7199

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