LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
The Working At Height Regulations Explained.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 provides a framework intended to reduce the risk of accidents when working at height. They are applicable to all work at height where there may be a risk of falling and, subsequently, personal injury. The Work at Height Regulations impose certain responsibilities not just on employers, but also on the self-employed and those responsible for others working at height - this would include facility managers and building owners, for instance.
Those responsible for any work at height must therefore take certain precautions in order to abide by the Work at Height Regulations, including:
- Ensuring that all work at height is properly planned and organised.
- Those working at height are competent to do so.
- The risks involved in working atheight are adequately assessed and accounted for, with appropriate equipment supplied and used for the work.
- Equipment used while working at height is properly maintained and inspected.
- Any risks posed by fragile surfaces are properly accounted for and controlled.
Other measures should also be considered:
- Working at height should be avoided if at all possible.
- Precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of falling/injury where working at height is unavoidable.
- Where the risk of a fall cannot be reduced significantly, steps should be taken to at least minimise the distance (and, therefore, consequences) involved.
There are various other provisions in the Work at Height Regulations; they include schedules detailing requirements for existing workplaces, means of access for working at height, collective fall prevention (through the use of guardrails, working platforms, etc), collective fall arrest (e.g. nets, airbags), personal fall protection (e.g. fall arrest, work restraints, rope access) and ladders. Further information on this is available at www.slingsby.com/healthandsafety.
Care must also be taken to ensure that any ladders used when working at heightare well-maintained and sufficiently robust. Old and/or damaged ladders pose a major risk to personal safety and should therefore never be used.
Which do you need?
Take a look at the following product highlights, which illustrate the main differences between the types of access products on offer. This might help you to establish which product would be most appropriate for your needs.
Kicksteps - Kicksteps or mobile stools have small castors on the base which retract when stepped on and can be easily positioned. They are lightweight but have a fixed height.
Step Stools - Ideal for use in office or domestic environments, they are often foldable for easy storage, and many come with large treads for added safety.
Step Ladders - A range of steps which meet the BS EN 131 light duty / trade use standard. Used for occasional short jobs at height.
Ladders- Used when a job is too high for a set of step ladders. Many ladders these days are telescopic or transformable into different types of ladder / step combinations.
Warehouse Steps - Heavy duty steps, which are usually mobile and often have retractable castors for complete stability. Many have handrails and extra large treads to ensure safety when carrying goods.
Work Platforms- These need to be used when working at height for longer than 30 minutes. They come with safety bars and handrails, and some can be folded for compact storage.