New Guidance On Working At Height – Updated Regulations
On January 28th 2014 the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published new guidance on what is required by law from both employers and employees when work at height is being undertaken. This overhaul is part of the UK government’s long term economic plan to abolish or improve burdensome, over-complicated and out dated regulations which result in the waste of both time and money for businesses all over the UK.
This is part of the UK government’s Red Tape Challenge, a project aimed at reducing the overall burden of regulation and encouraging greater responsibility in our society. So far more than 3000 regulations have been identified for either improvement or scrapping via the Challenge which asks the public and businesses to identify the rules which they consider are holding them back in some way.
With more than a million UK businesses and 10 million workers carrying out jobs involving some form of work at height every year, falls are the most likely cause of death and serious injury in the workplace. Health and Safety Minister Mike Penning, who is a former fireman, said:
“As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, it’s vital that businesses are not bogged down in complicated red tape and instead have useable advice about protecting their workers.”
Key changes to the WAHR 2005 include:
- Helping workers to be clearer about their own responsibilities for working safely.
- Providing simple advice about do’s and don’ts when working at height so that people are clear on what is legally required.
- Offering targeted advice to help businesses in different sectors to manage serious risks in a sensible and proportionate manner.
- Dispelling some of the myths about health and safety law, such as the belief that ladders have been banned when that is not the case.
The overhauled Work at Height Regulations is available on the government’s Health and Safety Executive website and provides industry specific information for the construction industry, agriculture and workplace transport. There are some valuable resources here that can be downloaded free of charge. These include:
- Working at Height – A brief guide
- Safe use of ladders and stepladders
- Work at Height Access and Information Toolkit
The Working at Height brief guide offers clear advice on the following issues:
- How to comply with Work at Height Regulations
- What needs to be considered when planning work at height
- How to decide if somebody is competent to work at height
- The most common causes of accidents when working at height
- What measures should be taken to help protect people
- How to select the correct equipment to use for the task at hand
- How to ensure that the equipment is safe and in good condition
- What architects and building designers need to do
- What employees need to do
No doubt we’ll be hearing more about the updates to the WAHR 2005 over the coming months as the industries involved come to terms with the clarified regulations.