Planning Work at Height
Most of us who work in the construction industry know just how important it is that work at height is properly planned in order to ensure that serious incidents are less likely to occur. Putting knowledge into practice through auditing and risk assessment is a vital part of this planning to make sure that work at height goes smoothly. Today we’re going to take a look at the different aspects involved when planning work at height so that business and building owners can be confident that any work carried out on their premises or by their workers is safe and effective.
Before any work takes place, you need to have a work at height policy. The term work at height covers a wide range of activities so you may need to consider different variations of work at height in your policy. Take into consideration how employees, contractors , visitors and members of the public may be affected by the activities in order to produce a strategic policy document which establishes procedures for working at height and what type of controls need to be implemented,
You’ll also need to ensure that all the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined within the policy – this means that it may extend to senior managers with the responsibility for ensuring the competence of all contractors involved in the work being planned.
Once the policy is in place, the next step is to carry out a comprehensive audit of working at height activities so that all relevant procedures are covered, including:
· Risk Assessments – these should be completed and reviewed on a regular basis
· Inspections – has the equipment been inspected on a regular basis with the relevant inspections logs and reports completed?
· Ladders – is there a ladder register and if so, is it up to date with all items individually identifiable?
· Maintenance – if you plan to use any access equipment, has it been properly and regularly maintained?
· Lanyards and Harnesses – are the register and inspection sheets for these items up to date? Are the items individually identifiable? Have users all been properly trained and are the correct emergency and rescue procedures in place?
· Training – are all of the relevant personnel trained to use the equipment that they are expected to use? Have their received training in height awareness and is their training up to date?
It’s vital that all tasks involved in the work are assessed individually as your responsibility will vary depending on who is carrying out a task and how they will do so. If your employees are carrying out the work you will need to prepare a method statement for the work. If the work is to be carried out by a contractor, they should provide you with a comprehensive risk assessment and method statement. You also need to ask any contractors for proof that they are competent to do the work which could include:
· H&S policy
· Relevant insurance details
· Training records for the task and equipment being used
· Maintenance and inspection reports for the equipment being used.