According to the HSE, work at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries within the work place, accounting for nearly three in ten fatal injuries to workers in 2013/2014.
Work at height has been carried out for centuries. However, for many years, height safety access equipment for working at height was not controlled and legislation was non-existent right up until 1974, when the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was introduced. For the first time, the Act allowed employers and employees to be consulted and engaged in the process of designing a health and safety system. Needless to say, there have been major advances in safety, due to a combination of legal requirements – such as Work at Height Regulations (2005) and advances in fall protection system design, availability and training, in order to dramatically reduce falls from height.
Nowadays, duty holders such as building owners, occupiers or facilities management companies should ensure that they comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) and must ensure that any work at height activity is correctly planned, supervised and carried out by the most appropriate individuals.
When working at height, safety should never be compromised- even if it is only a ‘2 minute job’. The WAHR outlines a Hierarchy of Risk Management to consider before work at height is undertaken which includes factors such as; can work at height be avoided by completing the work from underneath the building, or can it be made so that workers are not exposed to the hazard, by using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) for example. When work at height cannot be avoided, the right type of equipment should be used to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, such as fall restraint and fall arrest lanyards.
In order to ensure that those carrying out work at height are safe and compliant, it is recommended that any organisation requiring equipment for work at height should make use of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM). A PPM schedule can ensure that routine maintenance and repair works are implemented in line with relevant work at height legislation, keeping employee’s safe at all times and preventing the failure of safety equipment.
Many businesses choose to work alongside a work at height specialist company, like Heightsafe Systems, to ease the burden of testing and inspection and to ensure employees are safe when working at height. Here at Heightsafe, we can test and certify all equipment required for work at height in line with BSEN795 and can offer a unique work at height asset programme to take the headache of compliance away from you.
If you would like advice on how to keep your employees safe when working at height, contact Heightsafe Systems on: 020 3819 7199.