Access Equipment - No Room for Repairs

Access Equipment - No Room for Repairs

20th April 2015

A New European survey has revealed that the “make do and mend” culture is compromising the safety of workstations here in the UK.  Alarmingly it was discovered that more than 75% of British employers are guilty of allowing homemade workstation repairs risk the safety and comfort of employees.  Despite the fact that 62% of companies acknowledged that as employers they have a duty of care to their staff, the survey found that trained staff are less likely to perform workstation assessments than non-trained staff.  A massive 31% of employees were allowed to conduct their own self-assessments instead of the assessments being performed by trained health and safety officers or HR managers.

The research clearly shows that work demands, physical and health and the working environment are not being adequately considered, with 22% of employees interviewed disclosing that they experience physical discomfort on a daily basis. 

The construction industry is renowned for being one of the most risky businesses to work in, despite the fact that health and safety at work has seen a steady improvement since the Health and Safety at Work Act came into being in 1974.  The Act lays down the general principles for the management of health and safety at work and much of its legislation now complies with the laws of the European Union.

The main objectives of the Health and Safety at Work Act are:

  • Securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work
  • Protecting persons (other than persons at work) against risks to health or safety that may arise from or in connection with the activities of the person at work
  • Controlling the storage and use of explosive or highly flammable or otherwise dangerous substance and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of such substances.

Section 2 of the Act states that “it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his/her employees”.  Part of that duty is making sure that all access equipment used is well maintained and in good condition.  While it might be tempting to perform minor repairs on access equipment to save money – it could end up costing lives and costing you your business.  In the construction industry, it’s vital that any access equipment that is damaged or broken is replaced – or sent back to the manufacturer so that it can be properly repaired (if possible) and undergo quality assurance checks.

In these days of designed obsolescence we sometimes hark back fondly to the days when fixing the car meant tinkering under the bonnet until we got it running.  And who can forget the times when a household appliance broke down we called in a repair service rather than buy a replacement.  Sustainability is the name of the game nowadays and we’re beginning to turn our backs on the culture of replacing items that are worn or broken – we’re looking for ways to mend them, and so we should with most items.  When it comes to health and safety at work, however, cobbling together repairs puts lives at risk.