The do’s and don’ts of working at height:
- Do protect yourself against falls
- Do as much work at ground level as possible
- Don’t allow people that don’t have the appropriate training to work at height
- Do use equipment that is in good condition and up for the task (i.e. certified and comply with latest health and safety quality standards)
- Do make sure employees know about emergency procedures
- Don’t forget to check the weather conditions before you go out to work
- Don’t reach or stretch out for tools, ladders or other pieces of equipment
- Do make sure you use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against falling objects
- Don’t use ladders for demanding tasks, and for any activity that lasts for over 30 minutes
- Do report any injury or fall to your employer
- Do use edge protection like guard rails
These things will make sure that your business complies with the UK working at height regulations. This is really important, because injuries and fatalities resulting from falls at work do still happen. In 2017/18, falls from a height were the main cause of workplace deaths, with a total of 35 in the year, or an average of 3 per month.
To be clear, health and safety issues are serious business. You need to comply with the laws to protect your employees. As a result, if you do not ensure compliance, you can expect legal action and fines.
The Working at Height Regulations
The UK regulations for working at heights came into force in 2005. Their main purpose, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is to “prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height”.
Regulations apply to the planning stage of daily activities to ensure they are carried out safely. Planning ahead can not only save time and money, but also lives. This is because working at heights is naturally dangerous, so you need to take all steps to avoid it. If it is unavoidable, then the regulations come into play.
In addition, it is your legal obligation as an employer to complete a working at height risk assessment. This has the main aim of identifying risks and hazards, raising awareness and making sure they do not harm anyone. In controlling hazards, you need to make sure that you minimise “the distance and consequences” of a fall from height. Falls and hazards can include:
- Falling off an edge of a surface
- A fall through a surface
- Falling objects onto members of staff
- Weather conditions
- Unsafe equipment
The regulations also cover training, and the risk-level of certain workplace activities. For example, if you only do low-risk activities at work, you will need less training than someone who completes things with a high chance of harm. Awareness of these issues can help employees make smarter and safer decisions at work. In order to do so, you need to put on staff training.
Your Training Options
Training is a key part of any health and safety policy. After all, it is your employer’s legal responsibility, and employee’s duty to attend and co-operate. It is essential, because you can build a safety-conscious workplace and make sure you save time and resources. Furthermore, it highlights employee’s legal duties and makes sure they stick to them.
For working at height courses, you can view an online eLearning course. Our course is designed to educate your employees in safe working at height practices. You will need to complete face to face training as part of your legal duties, but our courses are the perfect companion and provide working at height training online. This means you can hop in and out of them at your own convenience.