A “High Five” When Working at Height

A “High Five” When Working at Height

08th May 2017

Everybody knows what a “high five” is – it’s a gesture of greeting or celebration in which two people slap each other’s palms together with their arms raised.  We’ve all done it and we even teach our little ones to do it before they can talk – it’s a popular part of modern life and it’s everywhere – on TV, in sports, in schools, in the workplace, in our homes and when we’re out enjoying ourselves.  Now the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is getting in on the act with their High 5 initiative – five ways to reduce risk on site, aimed at small construction businesses and small construction sites.  The risks identified in the High 5 campaign are as follows:

1.      Untidy sites

2.      Manual handling

3.      Work at height

4.      Asbestos

5.      Transport

Today, we’ll take a look at the overall importance of the campaign and over the coming weeks, we’ll take a detailed look at each of the risks identified in order to raise awareness amongst our readers and keep all of you fully up to date with this valuable initiate.

The HSE has collaborated with Working Well Together (WWT) in order to produce the High 5 Leaflet, which is a free download by the HSE website.  Working Well Together is the UK’s leading construction industry’s health and safety campaigner and is supported by trade unions and the HSE.  The construction industry remains the most high risk industry here in the UK, despite stringent health and safety legislation that has had a significant effect on the accident and injury statistics in recent years.  Of the sub-sectors within the construction industry, working at height remains the major culprit when it comes to injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

The High 5 leaflet was produced in response to research carried out by the HSE showing that 75% of deaths and injuries on site happen to self-employed workers or workers employed by a small construction company.  Companies with 15 or fewer employees comprise a massive 98% of the construction industry here in the UK so the HSE and WWT are determined to raise awareness of key safety issues in a bid to reduce fatalities and major injuries in the future.

The latest health and safety statistics for 2015 - 2016 published by the HSE clearly demonstrate that there’s room for improvement:

·         1.3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness

·         2,515 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2014)

·         144 workers killed at work

·         72,702 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR

·         621,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey

·         30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury

·         £14.1 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2014/15)

If you’re a small construction company owner or a health and safety professional and would like copies of the High 5 leaflet for distribution, you can order them from the HSE official website or download them and print them out yourself.