Three Top Tips for Working at Height

Three Top Tips for Working at Height

29th May 2015

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) tells us that 4,000 people suffer major injuries every year and that 40 of these prove fatal, all as a result of a fall at work. The UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates that a million of your businesses and 10 million workers carry out tasks that involve some type of work at height each year. Working at height is one of the leading causes of serious injuries in the workplace here in Britain which led the government to undertake an overhaul of the working at height guidance in January of 2014. The improved guidance was then examined and debated by industry leaders at a conference to discuss best practice for working at height. 

The most important advice when there is work at height to be undertaken is to consider whether the job could be done without having to work at height. If the task at hand is unavoidable, then here are 3 Top Tips for Working at Height that can help to reduce the risk of an accident.

BE PREPARED

Before you or any of your colleagues begin working on a site an expert should verify that the required protection has been put in place. Any dangers that could result from fragile surfaces or falling objects should be identified and taken into consideration.

MINIMISE RISKS

The advice from the HSE is to avoid working at height if it is reasonably practicable to do so.  If the work is absolutely necessary, then the overall distance between the worker and the ground should be limited where possible. You should ensure that any platform or ladder you are using for access is steady and stable with safe and easy access. If weather conditions are severe or hazardous, it’s best not to work off the ground at all.

RIGHT PEOPLE, RIGHT TOOLS

Make sure that the work and safety equipment to be used is stable and strong enough for the task at hand. All tools that are required for the job should be well maintained, regularly checked and in good working order – the tools should also be appropriate for the work being undertaken.  Any ladders or access equipment that is needed for the job should be well maintained and regularly checked. The people setting up the access equipment should be fully trained in assembling the type of equipment being used.  The workers who are to undertake the work at height should have received the appropriate training for working at height.

It’s the responsibility of all employers here in the UK to ensure that their employees have received the correct work at height training and that they are competent and able to complete the work being undertaken.