According to the latest statistics, falls from height account for the largest number of fatalities in the workplace. What’s more, falls from height cause an estimated 43,000 non-fatal accidents in the workplace every year. Common incidents include: falls from ladders, rooftops and through fragile surfaces. Avoid accidents like these by implementing proper control and safety measures.
Working at Height Regulations
The Working at Height Regulations 2005 state that ‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if no precautions are taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.
As part of the regulations, as a duty holder, you must:
- Avoid work at height wherever possible.
- Properly plan and organise work at height.
- Ensure those involved in work at height are competent.
- Assess the risks from work at height and select appropriate work equipment.
- Control the risks from fragile surfaces.
- Inspect and properly maintain equipment for work at height.
How to Keep Your Team Safe
- Consider whether there is a safer alternative to working at height. Could you complete some or all of the job at ground level? Could you use lifting equipment instead?
- Approach the task as a whole: you’ll need appropriate access equipment in place, so workers can get safely to and from their work station.
- Ensure working surfaces and access equipment are safe and stable and strong enough to support team members and their equipment.
- Remember the hierarchy of fall protection and use suitable collective protection as well as personal fall protection method when required.
- Choose appropriate equipment suitable for the type of work, this may include: ladders, scaffolding, working platforms, rope access equipment, harnesses, fall arrest systems and anchorage points.
- Take special care and implement extra precautions near fragile surfaces such as sky lights. Precautions should either prevent a fall or minimise the consequences of fall to an acceptable level.
- Have clear plans in place to provide a swift and safe rescue should a fall occur.
- Keep equipment in good working order with regular maintenance checks, including before each use and after a fall situation,
- Provide protection from falling objects using tool tethering and ensure operatives keep their hard hats on at all times.
- Check that everyone involved in work at height jobs is competent to do the work they are responsible for, including those who plan and manage it. Give team members sufficient height safety training as well as extra training for specialist equipment.
- Stay alert to adverse weather conditions, which may make working at height unsafe. Postpone work in excessively wet, windy or icy conditions.
- Use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks. Ladder may be used for light work of short duration (30 minutes maximum).
- Allow workers to carry out tasks on ladders where they cannot maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Use a different safe system of work if this is the case.
- Overload ladders, scaffolds or access equipment. Consider the combined weight of the worker and any equipment they are carrying. The combined weight shouldn’t never exceed the maximum load stated by the equipment manufacturer.
- Allow any incompetent person without the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to do the job to carry out work at height.
- Rest a ladder against weak upper surfaces such as plastic gutters or fragile roofs or place ladders, scaffolds or access equipment on unstable ground.
- Purchase equipment that isn’t certified to the latest safety standards, choose a reputable supplier who ensures equipment is safe and compliant.
For all your access equipment, height safety requirements and training advice, speak to a member of the HITEWORX team today on: 0333 234 1801.