May 7, 2017
Know Where You Stand on Working at Height
When we think about working at height we think of dizzying towers and neck-straining altitudes but, officially, ‘work at height’ means any work that is carried out above or below ground where someone could fall and be injured.
Even a height as minimal as the bottom rung of a ladder is deemed to be working at height.
In this quick guide we explain employer responsibilities and provide guidance on keeping your employees safe.
Be prepared to avoid height accidents
Some professions are more likely than others to include work at height – take an office worker versus a window cleaner – but the same law applies in each case. This means that employers should consider the importance of training their staff to avoid fall from height accidents.
It’s also worth pointing out that work at height accidents can occur when you least expect it. In September 2016, a teacher died due to medical complications after jumping down from a table at work and breaking her leg. Whilst cases like this are rare, incidents like this do happen.
Why train staff for working at height?
Staff who will be working at height need to be competent to do so and it is an employer’s responsibility to make sure this is the case. This requires training, supervision and proper planning of the work at height.
Dependent on the nature of the job, a combination of practical and on-the-job training may be necessary to look at the risks and safe method of working. In addition, specific or accredited training may also be required – IPAF for Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs), PASMA for Tower Scaffolds.
What do I need to do as an employer?
As an employer you need to train staff engaged in work at height in the risks and safe method of work. Within this training, you should consider the environment staff are working in, including weather conditions and emergency and rescue plans.
You should keep an up-to-date record of who has received the training, when, and when they are due a refresher. This record of information will be beneficial should you ever need to refer to it in case of an accident or civil claim.
Work at Height precautions will vary greatly depending on the work being carried out, as well as other factors such as location and environment.