Everything You Need to Know About Working at Height
As working at height experts, the team at Altus Safety has seen health and safety on site take huge leaps forward over the past few years. The strict standards we follow in the UK have successfully helped to manage risk and reduce the number of incidents and near misses.
However, working at height remains one of the most significant workplace hazards, accounting for 26% of fatal accidents at work, according to the HSE’s latest statistics, and 8% of non-fatal RIDDOR incidents. Consequently, it’s always worth a quick refresher on working at height best practice to ensure safety and the equipment work hand in hand with good safety behaviours.
Working at Height Regulations 2005
In the UK, the requirements set out in this legislation are mandatory for anyone working at height or responsible for a programme of works that involves working at height, which includes any activity above ground floor level or in any location where someone could fall from an edge, through an opening or through a surface.
Understanding the Hierarchy of Working at Height Specifications
It’s not always possible to avoid working at height but the hierarchy set out in the regulations for managing risk is designed to help you reduce the level of hazard where possible and specify the most appropriate safety equipment for your site environment. The hierarchy can be summarised as:
- If it is avoidable, do not work at height
- If working at height is unavoidable, use powered access systems where possible
- If powered access is not viable, install guardrail edge protection – this might include permanent free-standing guardrails, temporary handrails or collapsible handrails
- If a guardrail is not suitable, install a fall restraint system that controls the work area away from the edge
- If a restraint system is not practical, employ a fall arrest system that will limit the fall to prevent injury
While an experienced contractor or maintenance professional will have a good understanding of managing risk, it is best to work with a specialist provider that can advise you on the right type of system to meet your needs. A trusted working at height partner will carry out a site survey to understand the specific nature of the risks involved and practical considerations such as spatial layout and substrates in order to recommend a best-fit specification.
Altus Safety always sends a senior member of the team to site to assess your requirements and design the solution. If you’d like to talk to us about how we could help you make working at height safer, simply give us a call on 0330 113 0870.