Working at Heights
Posted on 15th July 2021 at 15:13
As the construction industry starts to become somewhat normal again across the UK, Building will resume, however a lot more building’s will be gracing the sky rather than stretching across the way.
According to a report by New London Architecture, there are 525 new planned high-rise buildings with 20+ floors, for London alone.
This will increase the problem Health and Safety professionals face and how to consistently operate safe workings at height.
So, what is working at height?
According to the HSE, working at height is defined as; work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.
You are working at height if you:
• work above ground/floor level
• could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or
• could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground
HSE figures show the risks; falls from height comprised around a quarter of fatal accidents in 2019-2020 alone! This figure may be down from the figures shown in 2018-2019 but this is still shockingly high. This is due to either poor management, planning or a combination of both. How we talk about height needs rephrasing more about a planning and management issue than one purely about equipment.
How can we manage Working at Height?
• Plan – Plan everything! How will you do it?, Who will do it? What will you be doing?
• Do – Identify all risks and hazards, who it could harm and how and what controls you will put in place
• Check – Always measure performance of the plans you have implemented, re-assess how your risks are being controlled
• Act – Learn from incidents and any data collected, re-assess Plans, polices and risk assessments when needed
Each new job will have its own risks and hazards, look at everything with a fresh perspective. The height might be the same but the risk of danger will be different.
Most accidents and loss of life are not caused by faulty equipment but by failure to plan properly; equipment seems fine? Double check it… what’s the harm?
Once the hazards are identified and assessed, then need to be actioned and eliminated or controlled. Good practice is to use the hierarchy of control to choose the appropriate control measures for each hazard. HOC is a method of prioritising controls to reduce risk; from most effective to least effective, this may be a result of a risk-cost analysis.
PPE should always be the last line of defence…
Tagged as: Auxil, Construction Safety, Employee Wellbeing, H&S, Health and Safety, Working At Height
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