The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were instated to help prevent death and serious injury when working at height. These working at height regulations apply to everyone who controls work at height, and must be followed so that all health and safety standards are complied with.
Helping to regulate work at height are the Hierarchy of Control Measures, which consists of eight levels.
Level 1: Avoiding Work at Height
Work at height should be avoided whenever possible, with any construction done from the ground through the use of extension tools. Ladders are to be avoided, so as to conduct work at ground level. This method also helps to prevent workers from being on fragile surfaces.
Level 2: Preventing Falls Through the Existing Workplace
When work at height is unavoidable, it is preferable to prevent issues from happening rather than minimising their consequences. Utilising spaces that are already conducive for fall prevention is preferred, so as to ensure there is no risk of falling.
Level 3: Preventing Falls Through Collective Equipment
Collective fall protection units, for example, are equipment to be used when a safe workplace is unavailable for work at height. Collective equipment is, therefore, utilised for fall prevention to ensure all workers are safe from injury or fall.
Level 4: Preventing Falls Through PPE
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, involves the use of equipment such as safety harnesses to prevent a fall. This level pertains to the restriction of movement so as to ensure workers are safe and don’t fall.
Level 5: Minimising Distance Through Collective Equipment
In situations in which prevention isn’t possible, the hierarchy of control introduces measures to minimise any potential consequence of a fall. Equipment such as safety netting is utilised under the working area in order to reduce the distance workers can fall from.
Level 6: Minimising Distance Through PPE
With personal protective equipment, workers ensure that the potential fall distance is minimised. Fall arrest harnesses are commonly used in situations In which it is appropriate, as they are less effective at heights of 4m or less.
Level 7: Minimising Consequences Through Collective Equipment
Safety netting, for example, is utilised in order to reduce the impact of a fall and not to reduce the distance of a fall. As the prevention of work at height is the most important in the hierarchy due to being safer, these methods of minimising consequences through collective equipment aren’t as advised.
Level 8: Minimising Consequences Through Instruction and Training
The last level in the hierarchy, the mitigation of fall consequences through training and instruction involves ensuring all workers are aware of all risks before commencing work. Workers need to be educated on how to properly assemble any equipment and to know all safety guidelines for working at height.
Providing a wide range of fall protection solutions (including fall arrest ladders) in England, Scotland, and Wales, at Altus Safety we are committed to delivering the best possible service. For more about hierarchy of control for working at height or any of our services, contact us on 0330 113 0870 to speak to our skilled team.