AFI member QAB Systems, part of the WCC Group, offers advice on falls from height in the construction industry is one of the biggest killers and causes of serious injuries. The risk of gravity getting hold of you never goes away.
So what is the meaning of “height” where the regulations apply? The 2005 Work at Height Regulations states “work at height” means:
(a) work in any place, including a place at or below ground level;
(b) obtaining access to or egress from such place while at work, except by a staircase in a permanent workplace, where, if measures required by these Regulations were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury;
This basically means that when you are working with a risk of a fall from ANY height that could cause injury, the Regulations apply to YOU and YOUR employees.
If working on a 3 metre ladder, bolting the top of a security fence or connecting razor wire to T bars, you are at risk of falling. If you were to fall 3 metres and land on the back of your head and neck, the outcome could be catastrophic. Death or paralysation could result quite easily.
All work at height must be risk assessed. This is a requirement by law under part 3 of the management regulations. The employer must be able to demonstrate that they have done all that is practicable to control and reduce hazards their employees are subject to.
The safest method of working at lower heights is by the use of a work platform surrounded by a handrail, these are available for individual workers and easily transportable.
Depending on access you may even require access with ladders, the ladder should be stabilised and connected to the fence by some means. Where the engineer is required to work with both hands off the ladder (as is often the case) it would be advisable to wear a fall arrest harness and lanyard connected to the stabilised ladder or fence.
There is even a jacket which contains an airbag that is available for low level fall hazards, although expensive these control measures are available.
Every week we can find prosecutions by the HSE of contractors and companies being prosecuted for unsafe work at height practices. Don’t become one of the statistics. The AFI has members who are work at height experts who can help control your work at height hazards.
For more help and advice contact AFI member QAB Systems – [email protected]