Working at Height
25% of all work-related fatalities result from falls from height. According to HSE statistics 5,000 reported incidents a year are attributed to injuries occurring from working at height annually. The aim of this toolbox talk is to raise awareness and reduce the risk of injury whilst working at height.
The legislation that enforces working at height is simply called The Work at Height Regulations 2005. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent death or injury because of a fall from height. Employers and those in control of working at height must properly plan, supervise, and ensure any work at height is carried out by competent people. This also includes short term, low risk activities, these will require less planning but should always be considered as potentially hazardous.
Work at height is considered any distance from a working height which could involve a fall a distance and liable to cause a personal injury. Working near excavations or exposed underground services can involve a fall from height and should be taken into consideration.
As with most hazardous activities the best way to avoid injury from work at height is to eliminate the need to work at height. Does the job have to be done?
Sometimes we must work at height, if this is the case, we need to ensure we have ‘competent persons.’ Depending on the task, we need to make sure these people have sufficient instruction, supervision, and training. This might be a simple Intuity Training Work at Height Awareness course online or a certified qualification to use a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP).
Select work equipment that prevents falls. This could be a set of aircraft steps with handrails and a stable working platform, a scaffold with mid rails and guard rails, a harness or MEWP which is totally enclosed.
Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong. Always carry out equipment checks and look at the work environment, especially for short term activities. Is the ladder stable, on flat ground and am I likely to obstruct a walkway or create further hazards?
Provide necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protection from falling objects. This could be head protection for those working below, brick guards and edge protection on scaffolds and raised work areas such as mezzanines and tethers or toolbelts for people working at height to reduce the risk of objects falling and injuring someone below.
We must also ensure the working environment is safe. Do we require fall protection? Do we restrict access below the work area to prevent objects falling and injuring pedestrians below? How do we control this? This should all be taken into consideration when planning any work at height.
What is the legislation introduced to protect employees from injuries from falls from height called?
What is the best way to avoid injuries from working at height?
Prior to any work at height we must properly plan and ensure the people we ask to carry out the activity have sufficient training, supervision and equipment required to complete the task safely.
These simple tips can help you in your toolbox talk delivery:
Practice makes perfect. Yes, it's a cliché - but it's true...
Stay on topic. Try not to get side-tracked by other subjects or topics...
Keep it simple...
Engage and involve...
Speak then listen...
Check everyone understands and record everyone involved to keep record of training.
We at KVF really believe that Toolbox Talks are ideal for raising awareness.
Please remember, task specific training should take place only once the basics of health and safety training have been issued to your teams. To get more information on our e-learning platform Intuity Training, email: email@example.com
Look out for our monthly blogs to let you know which subject we are covering each month and if there is anything specifically you want to see included, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org