Working at a height

Working at a height

What should you be mindful of when working at a height?

Safety Concerns When Working At a Height
Official statistics from the Government Department of Work and Pensions reports that a million British businesses and 10 million workers are estimated to carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year. The Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that 40 people are killed and 4,000 suffer major injuries every year as a result of a fall at work.

As one of the primary causes of death and serious injury in the workplace, it is no surprise that the topic is getting coverage. In January 2014, an overhaul of guidance on working at height was launched by the government and in October, industry leaders gathered at a conference to discuss best practice for working at height.

So what factors should workers take into consideration?

Be prepared
Before you or any of your colleagues start work on a site, it is vital that an expert has verified that the necessary protection has been put in place. The potential danger of falling objects and fragile surfaces should be identified. A recent case reported by the HSE emphasised the importance of this – when a London-based civil engineering firm was prosecuted for multiple work-at-height risks on a construction site. One of the main accusations was of missing or inadequate edge protection that exposed workers to falls. Always be prepared.

Minimise the risk
The HSE advises employees to avoid working at a height when it is reasonably practicable to do so. When is it necessary to work at a height, limit the overall distance between you and the ground and ensure any platform you are working from is steady and stable with easy and safe access. In hazardous weather conditions, it’s advisable to avoid working off the ground.

Use the right tools – and the right people – for the job
Make sure your workplace is well equipped by using work and safety equipment that is stable and strong enough for the job. All tools should be maintained and checked regularly. Healthy Working Lives, for example, reports on good practice with ladders, stepladders, access equipment and scaffold.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that all staff employed in work at height are fully trained, competent and able to complete the task at hand.

This post was sponsored by Claim 500. Claim 500 are specialists in accident at work and work related compensation claims.

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