Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of fatalities and significant injuries in many workplaces. This piece of content will explain what you as an employer can do to protect your employees from falls at height and helps them comply with the Work at Height Regulations (2005). Some common reasons are falling from ladders and over delicate roofs. The purpose of the Work at Height Regulations is to prevent death and injuries from falls as a result of working at height.
If your employees work at height, you will know that taking safety seriously is an important priority. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is fully aware of the risks involved with such work activities and has put numerous legislations that must be obeyed to ensure safety when working at height.
What is Working at Height?
Working at height is when a worker working at height could result in injury if s/he fell from the height. Any activity that involves working above the ground or floor level, where there is a high risk of falling from one level to a lower level is considered as working at heights.
A fall from height occurs quickly and the significance cannot be minimized in the absence of fall protection equipment. Therefore, employers of the staff undertaking such work must conduct regular risk assessments for those working at height, so that the risk of injuries and accidents can be minimized.
What Must Employers Do to Comply with Work at Height Regulations
Numerous regulations apply to work at height, many of which emphasize the responsibilities of employers to protect their staff. If being an employer, you cannot look at the health and safety of your workforce, then you must:
- Avoid the work from height as much as possible
- Minimize the distance and consequences of falls
- Use the right equipment that prevents the falls
Along with these, to comply with the work at height legislation, employers must:
- Ensure that their workers are well informed, equipped, and trained to undertake height works
- Ensure the work is planned, organized, and conducted properly
- Examine the risks of fragile surfaces before their workers begin work
- Evaluate the weather conditions to ensure suitable weather for work
- Ensure that the equipment is checked and inspected thoroughly before use
- Take care of any precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of falling objects
What Working Circumstances Increase the Danger?
Although any work operation conducted at height can be dangerous, certain circumstances increase the risks of falling from a height that employers and their staff must take into consideration.
- Working on roofs
- Working on ladders
- Working on elevated structures
- Working or cliffs & steep ground
- Working on scaffolds
Employers must examine and keep a detailed eye on the task their workers are operating and provide them with adequate fall protection measures to minimize the risk as much as possible can.
Selecting the Right Work Equipment
When selecting the equipment for undertaking work at height, employers and their staff must:
- Use the right and suitable equipment for work. They must look at what does the job require of them, how long will it take to complete, and where it needs to be done
- Give collective protection measures over personal protection measures
- Take account of the working conditions and risks to the safety of anyone who might be affected by work activities
- Take account of the working conditions & the risks to the safety of those at the place where the work equipment is to be used
Regular inspections are also mandatory, employers must ensure that each place where the work is to be done at height is regularly checked and inspected before use.
Employers must ensure that any item of the equipment used for work is inspected:
- After it is installed or assembled
- To ensure that any decline detected and improved in good time
Information, Supervision & Training
Employers must also ensure that anyone involved in the process of working at height must be educated and competent enough to undertake the work safely and securely.
Adequate supervision and training on working at height or conducting working at height risk assessments are necessary to make sure proper fall protection measures are in place and staff is familiar with the safe working practices.
This article is a thorough explanation and a complete guide to working safely at height. Numerous people die every year due to work-related injuries, accidents, or ill health. Falls from height are one of the major reasons for such incidents.
Therefore, to adhere to the law and prevent the safety and health of the staff, their employers must have safe systems of work within their work environment to ensure that they are complying with the law and their workers are safe while at work. This post explains some of these major aspects in detail.