In this Episode of Safeti School, we walk through the three step decision-making process for minimising risk when working at at height.
AVOID - PREVENT - MINIMISE.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers to do the following when assessing & planning work at height:
Before Working at Height
Avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so
where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment
Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated
Further Tactics to Reduce Work at Height Risk
You should also consider the following aspects when planning work:
do as much work as possible from the ground
ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
not overload or overreach when working at height
take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
provide protection from falling objects
consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
Resources for Working at Height Podcast
Decision Guide - step-by-step guide from the HSE
HSE Statistics - falls from working at height are the most common cause of fatality at work
Health and Safety Templates - download Safeti's pro-forma, examples and HSE guidance.
Safeti Services - we can help you reduce risk in your business
Working at Height Podcast Transcript
We're going to walk through the step-by-step decision-making process that the Health and Safety Executive here in the UK have scripted out for us.
This can help when we're deciding what sort of control measures will be necessary when we're working at height.
Obviously it is one of the major areas were fatalities occur and serious injuries as well. Hopefully this blog is something that you can come back to over and over again or share with your colleagues.
They're going through that decision-making process when they’re planning work. So really all this is doing is looking at the hierarchy of control and walking through it in a way that is appropriate for working at height.
Can you eliminate Working at Height?
The first thing we want to do is to consider whether we can eliminate the working at height in the first place, so therefore preventing actually getting up to any height of any significance and taking away that risk completely.
Things you want to think about here are for example; if you were doing window cleaning, can you use extendable tools from ground level to remove the need for ladders (or any other equipment to get you up to that level).
If you're installing Hardware or any sort of equipment for your buildings e.g. air conditioning.
It's a great question to ask - Do we really need to be placing them at a height?
Of course, this will also apply when people are performing maintenance, so may create an additional risk at a later stage.
Much of the time, during the design process, someone will think it is a good idea to put that an element of infrastructure at a height. But, they don't always think of the safety repercussions. And besides, it's not always really necessary.
That is something that can be considered during the design planning process. Something else to think about in terms of prevention or elimination, is whether you can pre-fabricate the work at ground level.
By doing this, you may be able to significantly reduce the amount of time required to work at height.
Preventing a Fall from Height
That leads us on to the second most preferable option here, which is preventing a fall from occurring.
So rather than avoiding or eliminating the work at height completely, how can you work towards minimizing the risk of a fall f