ASSESSING WORK AT HEIGHT IN THE UK

The LAW IN THE UK requires that employers and self-employed contractors assess the risk from work at height and go on to organise and plan the work so it is carried out safely.

 

Try avoiding work at height, if you can. You must otherwise prevent or arrest a fall and injury if work at height is necessary.

 

Instruct and train your workforce in the precautions needed. Method statements are widely used in the construction industry to help manage the work and communicate what is required to all those involved.

 

Key issues for all work at height are:

Risk assessment

Precautions required

Method statements

 

Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, particularly on smaller projects.

 

Over 60% of deaths during work at height involve falls:

from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms and roof edges; and

through fragile roofs or rooflights.

 

Risk assessment

 

Employers and self-employed contractors must:

Assess the risks;

Decide on the precautions required;

Record the significant findings; and

Review the assessment as necessary.

 

Do not overcomplicate the process. For many firms your work at height risks will be well known and the necessary control measures easy to apply.

 

Follow the HSE Controlling the risks in the workplace

 

Precautions required

 

The law in the UK on work at height requires that you take account of your risk assessment in organising and planning work and identifying the precautions required. Your objective is to make sure work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

 

The approaches you can adopt for work at height are to:

Avoid work at height where it reasonably practicable to do so, eg by assembly at ground level and:

Prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury eg by using a scaffold platform with double guard-rail and toeboards.

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