Falls from height remains one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths, with 26 per cent of all fatal construction accidents resulting from a fall from height during 2010/11. One of the main regulations that apply to those working at height includes the Work at Height Regulations 2005. These regulations apply to all who work at height where there is a risk that a fall could cause an injury. These regulations place duties on employers, the self-employed and any persons who control the work of others which involves working at height. Those working at height must be trained and supervised by a competent person. Employers/duty-holders must avoid working at height where they can, and, if they cannot avoid working at height, suitable work equipment must be in place to prevent falls. If there is a risk of a fall, measures must also be put in place to minimize the distance of the fall and the consequences of the fall.

Employees and self-employed must report any hazards and use the equipment provided that they have been trained and experienced in how to use. The duty holder’s responsibilities include making sure that all work at height is properly planned and organized. The weather conditions must be taken into account and the place where the work is done must be safe. Those working at height must be properly trained and competent to carry out the tasks. The  equipment must also be regularly inspected. Risks from fragile surfaces and falling objects must be properly controlled.

Safe use of ladders
A third of all falls from height are from ladders or stepladders. It is therefore imperative to use them correctly.

  • They should only be used for “light work”, not lifting of heavy loads up and down a ladder
  • For safety, there must be 3 points of contact (hands and feet) when working on the ladder
  • If a handhold cannot be maintained, a risk assessment will have to justify whether it is safe or not to use the ladder
  • One should have a tool belt and one hand free to grip the ladder when carrying items up and down the ladder
  • Ladders must not be overloaded
  • where step ladders are used, one should stand on them facing the work activity, not sideways
  • Ladders need to be placed on dry, firm level ground. Avoid shiny surfaces
  • They should not be placed near hazards like windows, doors, where pedestrians can walk under them or where there are moving vehicles
  • Ladders should not be used within 6 m horizontally of any overhead power lines

As well as the Work at Height Regulation 2005, other regulations that are applicable to those working at height include the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007,  the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.
sources   hse   wahsa   ucatt


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