Those operating within the lifting gear industry will find that working at height is often a common task that must be performed. Perhaps it’s at great towering heights on large construction projects, or maybe it’s just a few metres off the ground.
Regardless of whatever height you are working at, it’s imperative that the right steps are taken to ensure that workers remain safe and protected at all times. For that reason, there are very clear and strict height safety legislation and standards for those operating within the UK.
The main legislation that you must be aware of that relates to this issue is The Work at Height Regulations 2005, which has been produced in order to ”prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height.” This is a lengthy piece of legislation which is best summarised within the document Working at height, A brief guide. We will summarise this brief guide here.
First, it is important to note that working at height is defined as conducting ”work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.” As you may agree, this definition doesn’t seem entirely definitive, as it doesn’t specify an exact height. But, in some ways, it doesn’t need to. Technically, a worker could fall from a very short height, and if they land awkwardly, could still cause great harm to themselves.
Ensure that you are familiar with all relevant legislations and standards
For that reason, it’s better that you be over cautious when applying these regulations to your own business. You don’t want to leave yourself liable for any issues further down the line. Always use common sense when approaching any situation. There will be times when personal protective equipment (PPE) isn’t needed. But, just remember that being over cautious is the better approach!
The guidelines also lay out some advice for before you work at height. They suggest that you avoid working at height wherever it is possible to do so; complete as much work from the ground as you can. Should you not be able to avoid doing so, then try and use any existing places of work to complete the operation. Should this also not be possible, then minimise the distances of the height as much as you can.
Our height safety kits can help
You must also ensure that only “competent” persons are involved in the planning and conducting of these operations. These are defined as people who have the skills, experience and knowledge required to complete the task. Alongside this, you must take into account other factors, such as the weather, the place that is being worked on, any loose materials around the site, and conducting a thorough risk assessment and rescue plan beforehand.
These are the main points of the legislation that you must remember:
- Previously working at height was defined as above 2 metres. Now, it is simply where one could fall and cause harm. This is a rather loose definition, so is one you must be extra cautious about!
- It’s important that you have carried out a risk assessment before your operation. You must also have a rescue plan in place as well. You mustn’t rely on the emergency services as they may not be able to arrive in time
- Ensure that all staff and workers are fully trained in the use of height safety and fall protection equipment
- You must regularly inspect any equipment that is involved in this operation, to ensure it remains up to the highest standards
So, how can we at Lifting Gear Direct help? While we play no part in deciding legislation in the UK, we do play a part in helping to uphold certain standards. For a start, all of our equipment is professionally and expertly manufactured, ensuring that it adheres to only the highest standards. It is also produced in accordance with all relevant guidelines and laws.
Working at height
And while we might not decide on legislation, we know what it says. We take all relevant laws and legislation seriously, as of course you should, and so we are more than ready to offer you our advice and knowledge on the subject. If you want to discuss your lifting operation and how the height safety laws might affect it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Finally, we can help by providing a range of height safety equipment. We have various kits, containing everything from small items such as hooks, right through to large access platforms. All of this equipment has been designed with only the highest standard in mind. For more on these kits, please read our blog article on the subject here.
We hope that the above information has been useful in teaching you more about the various rules in place surrounding height safety in the UK. We also hope that you’ve been able to take away some useful information on how you can help to protect your employees and workers.
Should you wish to discuss any of the above further, then we would be more than happy to help. Please either give us a call on 01384 76961, or get in contact with us here.