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Working at Height


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Falls from height are one of the most frequent reasons for major workplace injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common ways people fall from height is by falling through fragile roofs and falling from ladders. More than 4,000 people are injured by a fall from height every year and around 40 die every year. These numbers have decreased over the past decade however, which could be attributed to the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Why Were the Work at Height Regulations Introduced?

The Work at Height Regulations (2005) are a set of guidelines that employers and employees should follow to prevent death and injury caused by falling from height. The regulations affect both employees, who have a legal duty of care to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions, and employers, such as building owners, who must ensure any work at height activities are correctly planned, supervised and carried out.

The guidance on working at height affects over 1 million businesses and 10 million workers. The Work at Height Regulations were overhauled in January 2014 as part of a larger initiative to abolish or improve out-dated, over-complicated regulations. The aim is to create guidance that is set out in clear, simple terms what can and cannot be done and to scratch common myths that people have regarding working at height.

Work at Height Myths

One of the common myths that is associated with working at height is that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has banned the use of ladders on building sites. This is not true. Ladders and stepladders are allowed on building sites and can often be the most sensible option for conducting out work at height. They are often used in low-risk scenarios where the work is only being conducted for a short time (less than 30 minutes).

Is Work at Height Necessary?

Before conducting any kind of work at height, the first question that should be asked if whether or not the work can be safely carried out from the ground. Working at height should always be avoided, where possible.

How Should Work at Height Be Managed?

If you have properly assessed your project and have decided that work cannot be carried out from the ground then you will need to correctly plan and manage your project to ensure the safety of your employees and yourself. In order to manage work at height projects a hierarchy of controls should be followed. These are; avoid, prevent and arrest.

Fall Arrest and Your Work at Height Project

Once you have identified the requirements for your project you will need to ensure that your employees are not exposed to unnecessary risk and that an appropriate fall protection system is in place. Fall arrest is a form of fall protection that safely stops a person already falling.

When picking a fall arrest system that will meet the requirements of your workers and project you should consider a variety of factors including how frequently the system will be used, the amount of workers and respective time they will spend attached to the system and where the entry and exit points are.

There are a number of work at height methods that you may choose for your project including scaffolding, scissor lift, rope access, alloy towers or cherry pickers.

Why Would You Choose Rope Access?

Rope access has proven to be very safe method for carrying out work at height with a fatality rate of around at 0.08 per 1,000 workers. Rope access has a number of benefits including the efficiency and speed that the required tools can be put in place and the work can be carried out. Rope access incurs little disruption to the surrounding building facade and due to the minimum amount of equipment needed can be a very cost-efficient work at height alternative.

If you are interested in finding out more about rope access, Inspection & Rope Access Specialists rope access technicians in Scotland will be able to help you. Contact us today to find out more and discuss your project.