Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of major injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common cases of this include falling from ladders and falling through fragile surfaces.
Work at height means you’re working where, if no precautions are in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury, e.g. falling through a fragile roof. You are classed as working at height if you:
Working at height doesn’t include a slip or trip on the level; a fall from height has to involve a fall from one level to a lower level. It also doesn’t include walking up and down a permanent staircase.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 places a duty on employers and those who control any work at height activity. You must ensure:
So, ensure that you carry out a full working at height risk assessment, so you can see you’ve assessed the risks that come with working at height.
If possible, avoid working at height where it’s reasonable practicable to do so. Obviously, there are some jobs where avoiding working at height just isn’t possible; in these cases prevent falls using the right type of equipment of using an existing place of work that is already safe. Where risk cannot be eliminated, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the correct equipment.
We thought we’d offer a few do’s and don’ts to help you to prepare for your work at height.
If you undertake safety training or attend a working at height course is a great way to help your and your employees stay safe. As we’ve said, working at height is dangerous and often unavoidable, so training can provide you with the knowledge of how to work as safely as possible.
Obviously, anyone who works at height should attend some formal training. In addition, any managers or supervisors in charge of a team may require an understanding of working at height.
Training can help you to understand the risks and legalities that come with work at height. It will also help you work more efficiently and safely, which can only benefit you and your employees.
If you’re unsure about anything in regards to working at height, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be more than happy to offer some advice. We do also provide working at height training; it covers legal duties, accident statistics, inspection requirements and common hazards. This training is suitable for anyone who uses ladders and stepladders regularly. If you’d like more information, get in touch and one of our team will answer any questions you have.
By James Murphy