Working at Height - The not so boring statistics
Although statistics may seem boring it’s a good way of getting a focused perspective on a particular subject and statistics on the UK’s construction fatalities can be quite surprising when looked at in detail. For instance, although the construction industry accounts for only about 5% of Britain’s employees, it’s responsible for a massive 22% of fatal injuries - a sobering thought. Many of these fatal injuries are as a result of a fall with one in every three falls involving a construction worker. More alarmingly, 15% of all slip, trip and fall fatalities are in the roofing industry alone, making roofing appear the most dangerous business to be in.
This means that working at height is one of the biggest causes of work related fatalities and major injuries with many falls involving ladders or fragile/damaged roofs. It’s essential for roofing and construction companies, no matter how small, have an effective working at height policy with practical advice on how to keep employees safe at all times when working.
Here in the UK the Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR 2005) apply to all work that is undertaken at a height where there is a risk of a fall that is liable to cause personal injury. The Regulations require that duty holders must ensure that:
- Those involved in work at height are competent
- All work at height is properly planned and organised
- The risks from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
- All risks from fragile surfaces are controlled
- Equipment for working at height is properly inspected and maintained at all times
For those who work at height, undertaking a safety training or working at height course is essential as a way of ensuring your own and your colleagues’ safety. You’ll learn about the following issues:
- Legal responsibilities (including an overview of the Working at Height Regulations 2005)
- An overview of working activities that involve risk of injury from working at height and typical likely injuries
- Basic hazards and risk factors
- Basic safety precautions designed to prevent falls and falling objects or materials
- Safe working practice for several common forms of access equipment
- Inspection requirements for scaffolding
Taking advantage of the safety training available and keeping up to date with best practice at all times is the key to ensuring that you’re doing all that you can to ensure the safety of yourself and your employees or workmates. Safety is an issue that affects everybody involved in the construction industry and the more use we make of all the resources available to us, the safer the industry will be here in the UK.