This CSCS working at heights revision section will highlight some of the main responsibilities and measures your employer has to undertake to ensure that you are protected while working at height, it’s also important to understand that it’s not only your employer’s responsibility to ensure your safety but yours as well by ensuring you follow all safety systems in place.
For all of us working in the construction industry working at height is something we can’t run away from, in reality, most construction-related jobs will require you to work on ladders, scaffolds and platforms at some time, and being able to work safely is something that shouldn’t be taken lithely because there’s a real risk of serious injury or even death.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005
Workplace injuries and deaths attributed to falls from height are an unfortunate reality of working in the construction industry. The Work at Height Regulations Act devised in 2005 is in place to help prevent these tragic events from occurring.
Working in the construction industry is challenging, rewarding work, and management staff can guarantee a safe and productive work environment for workers by following the Work at Height Regulations carefully.
The regulations covered by the act are designed for people who manage others, such as construction site managers, facilities management staff, and even self-employed workers.
Basically, the regulations are for anyone who may contract others to work at height. The act is regularly reviewed to make sure it is up-to-date with any changes in the construction industry.
The Work at Height Regulations was modified in April 2007 to include employees who might be involved in height-related activities, such as recreational pursuits, team-building activities, promotional projects, and any other tasks involving work at height.
It’s the responsibility of an employer to make sure a detailed and comprehensive risk assessment is completed before any work at height begins. The assessment should examine all risks associated involved with working at height, including falls, slips and trips in the work area.
A detailed risk assessment needs to consider the protection mechanisms that are present, such as barriers, rails and safety harnesses. From this initial audit, the assessment should outline any improvements that could be introduced to further reduce risk to workers.
The employer must schedule regular reviews of the Working at Heights risk assessment. This is particularly important for a building site, where the location and position of work areas may vary depending on the stage of the project.
Scaffolding can sometimes change on a daily or weekly basis, so care should be taken to regularly review potential risks.
Employers have certain duties and responsibilities when it comes to safeguarding their employees who are working at height, some of these include:
- Employers are responsible for ensuring that any work that is carried out at height must be properly planned and supervised.
- Employers must ensure that those who work at height are competent
- Employers must ensure that proper risk assessments are carried out
- Employers must ensure that equipment needed for working at height is inspected, maintained, and suitable for the job
- Employers must eliminate the need for working at height if possible
- Employers must ensure that the place where the work is carried out is safe
- Employers must have emergency plans in place
- Employers must consider the weather when planning
- Employees must follow safety procedures in place for working at height
- Employees must wear safety equipment provided by employers
- Employees must report any defective or damaged safety equipment
- Employees must carry out tasks in accordance with the training received
These are just a few of the safety procedures put in place to help employees who work at height, for more information on working at heights and the health and safety laws that govern working at height visit the HSE Website.