With working at height comes risk, statistically one of the highest risk, according to the latest HSE statistics for 2019.
Of the 147 workers whom died as result of an accident 40 were due to working at height.
There were also 581,000 non-fatal accidents of which 46,480 involving falls from height across all industries. That’s 127 accidents every day a massive 8%. Interestingly the same figure given for reported workplace violence.
Over 60% of the deaths attributed to work at height involve falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms, roof edges and through fragile roofs.
Typical preventable accidents
Typically accidents involving working at height (over two thirds) are caused by low falls using ladders and stepladders incorrectly, overstretching from ladders and standing on benches or chairs to reach high surfaces. Accidents can also involve access equipment, such as mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs).
Having the correct control measures in place and assessing the risk can ensure that your business avoids an accident. This is a requirement of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
1999 and when determining the control measures the Work at Height Regulations 2005 set out a hierarchy of fall protection measures to be taken when planning work which must be followed:
Those planning work at height must:
– Avoid work at height where they can;
– Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height; and
– Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distances and consequences of a fall should one occur.
Always prepare people and equipment thoroughly and never, ever cut corners on safety procedures.
As it is the duty of the employer to ensure that no person engages in any activity, including organisation, planning and supervision, in relation to work at height or work equipment for use in such work unless he is competent to do so or, if being trained, is being supervised by a competent person.