Safe Working at Heights

Safe working at heights is a matter of adequate planning and following of the risk assessment completed for the identified activity. Falls from heights have accounted for thousands of injuries at work every year with over forty of these falls proving fatal.

Work at Height Regulations provide a number of clear guidelines for managing the safety of yourself and your employees while working at heights, bringing a comprehensive and consolidated guideline for minimum health and safety requirements for the use of equipment for work at height. These regulations have been specifically developed to prevent death and injuries caused each year from falls at height and are applicable to all situations where there is a potential risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. All employees and managers are under a duty, according to the regulations to report any safety hazard to those in charge and to use the supplied equipment properly following any training and instructions that are provided for the safe use thereof.

There are a number of training courses available to equip employees and managers with the requisite skills and qualifications needed to safely carry out their jobs. Employers have a duty to ensure that that height work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner that is safe, and this may require that employees and managers are recommended to undergo comprehensive training to ensure safety in the workplace. Examples of courses that provide safe work at height training include:

– IPAF, PASMA, Industrial and Construction Safety Training
– IPAF Training Courses (Cherry Picker & Scissor Lift Training)
– PASMA Training Courses (Scaffold Tower Training) & Ladder Courses
– Forklift Truck Courses, Manual Handling Training & Abrasive Wheel Training Courses
– IPAF Powered Access (Cherry Picker & Scissor Lift Training)
– SMSTS Training Courses
– Harnass Training
– IPAF MEWPS For Managers
– PASMA Access / Scaffold Tower and Platform Training
– Ladder Training For Working at Height

These courses will provide employees and managers with the skills necessary to define height work and the ability identify accident causation in height work, an overview of the applicable legislation, an appreciation of the relevance of planning and organisation in height work, the ability to identify potential hazards in height work, and the merits of risk assessment and safety inspections.

Practical considerations of height work demand that duty managers are able to follow the risk assessments that has been carried out for work at height activities, ensuring that height work is planned, organised and carried out by competent persons with appropriate knowledge and training, taking all necessary steps to manage the risks -to avoid, prevent or reduce risks. Importantly, this also includes choosing the right work equipment and selecting collective measures to prevent falls (examples include guardrails and working platforms) before other measures which may only mitigate the distance and consequences of a fall, such as nets or airbags or which may only provide personal protection from a fall.

Through adequate planning and appropriate knowledge of the available safety measures, safe working at heights is a simple issue of taking preventative measures which may have a significant impact on the lives of all employees by preventing the potential risk of death or injury. Having staff with appropriate skills and training, who understand these risks will ensure that all employees and managers can finish the job safely, without any harm to themselves.

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