Reducing the Risks of Work at Height
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been taking a look at hazards and risks, namely hazards in the workplace and the difference between hazards and risks, pointing out that carrying out a risk assessment is a legal requirement for construction company owners. One of the biggest risks when working at height in the construction industry is a fall. Despite the stringent legislation designed to reduce the number of falls from height in the workplace, from 2013 to 2018, falls from height still accounted for the majority of fatal injuries to workers here in the UK, with an average of 37 death every year. In the construction industry, 47% of deaths and 33% of injuries were a result of a fall from height.
If we want to reduce (and eventually end) the dangers of working at height in the construction industry there are some recommendations that we would advocate here at Safety Fabrications, where our team is dedicated to providing safe access solutions for all types of work at height.
One suggestion is that the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) could continuously moni6tor and report on the health and safety performance of contractors in the construction (and other high risk) industry which would encourage a positive approach when it comes to working at height safely.
Moreover, it would be helpful if the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) were easy to access online for companies in the more high-risk industries, especially construction. RIDDOR could instigate a certification scheme that would provide proof of any company’s accident and incident statistics to enable businesses to easily benchmark themselves against their competitors, and perhaps provide some sort of incentives to improve accident figures.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR 2005) require that employers or duty holders should ensure that all of their employees have access to the correct work at height equipment for the work being undertaken and be fully trained in its use.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an important tool when protecting workers from the risks faced whilst working at height. It is the employer’s duty to ensure that all employees are fully trained to select the correct PPE for the task at hand.
UK health and safety legislation requires that Fall Protection Systems should be in place when employees or contractors carry out any work at height (2 metres or more).
The PUWER Regulations 1998 require that work at height equipment and PPE is regularly maintained and tested to ensure that it is still compliant with current legislation. All of these protective systems should be visibly tagged and comply with legislation – otherwise, your insurance could be invalid and you would be liable for prosecution should an injury occur.