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The Work at Height Regulations 2005 was introduced to help prevent death and serious injury when working at height. The working at height regulations apply to everyone whose job requires work at height and must be followed to comply with all health and safety standards.
In this blog, we’re looking into the Hierarchy of Control Measures regarding working from height which was created to help eliminate fatalities and injuries. It consists of eight levels – let’s explore what each of them means.
Level 1: Avoiding Work at Height
Working at height should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, you should always complete construction from the ground through the use of extension tools. This also includes ladders, which you should avoid whenever possible too. The regulations can not only prevent falls, but safety methods prevent workers from standing on fragile services. Additionally, workers should be doing everything they can and using working from height as a last resort. You should lower something to the ground for repairs rather than attempting to fix it at height. Of course, if you have found yourself seeking our advice, working at height is quite possibly unavoidable for you and your company.
Level 2: Preventing Falls Through the Existing Workplace
When working at height is unavoidable, it is always preferable to prevent issues from occurring rather than attempting to minimise their consequences. There are several ways in which you can do this. First, we recommend utilising spaces that are already conducive for fall prevention to reduce the risk of falling.
Level 3: Preventing Falls Through Collective Equipment
Collective fall protection equipment is equipment that is put into place to protect multiple people at once. If properly installed, it does not require any specialist training to use it and ensure it works. Equipment such as guardrails and skylight protection fit into this category as they are utilised to prevent all workers from falling. This type of equipment negates the need to use individual fall protection equipment such as harnesses and cable systems which sometimes restrict workers.
Level 4: Preventing Falls Through PPE
PPE is Personal Protective Equipment and involves using equipment such as safety harnesses to prevent falls while working at height. As mentioned, the equipment in this level of the Hierarchy of Control Measures can restrict workers’ movement. Because of this, all other levels of safety must be considered.
Level 5: Minimising Distance Through Collective Equipment
Unfortunately, in some circumstances, the prevention of falls is not possible – this is where level five comes in. Minimising distance through collective equipment means implementing equipment such as safety netting or the inflatable bags pictured below to reduce the space from which workers could fall. Additionally, this equipment reduces the impact of the fall as it cushions the worker – preventing them from injuries.
Level 6: Minimising Distance Through PPE
The use of personal protective equipment ensures that workers are protected in the instance of a fall. This is done by reducing the distance that they could fall. Equipment such as fall arrest harnesses are commonly used in these situations.
Level 7: Minimising Consequences Through Collective Equipment
Collective equipment such as safety netting is utilised when working at height to reduce the impact of a fall and not reduce the distance. However, as the prevention of working at height is the most important in the Hierarchy of Control Measures: Working at Height, these methods of minimising consequences through collective equipment are not as advised.
Level 8: Minimising Consequences Through Instruction and Training
This is the last level in the hierarchy. Mitigating fall consequences through training and instruction involves ensuring all workers are aware of all risks before commencing work at height. In addition, workers need to be educated on correctly assembling any equipment and knowing all safety guidelines for working at height. Although this is the last level, it is a vital step and is crucial that this training is put into place in addition to the above levels.
We hope that this blog has been helpful, and you now have a better understanding of the Hierarchy of Control Measures: Working at Height. Here at Altus Safety, we provide a wide range of fall protection solutions, such as fall arrest ladders in England, Scotland, and Wales. We are committed to delivering the best possible service for those working at height.
For more information about our services or if you have any questions regarding the Hierarchy of Control Measures: Working at Height, please get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team.
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