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Overcoming the Dangers of Working at Height

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Working at Height is one of the most high-risk activities in the construction industry. Falls from height are the biggest causes of workplace fatalities, accounting for 26% of all fatal injuries (an average of 37 fatal injuries per year). 

Fatal Injuries to workers by most common accident kinds

Half of all fall from height deaths over the last five years were in the construction sector, where there is an annual average of 19 deaths per year.

Falls from height also accounted for 8% of employer reported non-fatal injuries in 2017/18, with the largest proportion of these injuries (18% in 2017/18) being reported by the construction sector.

Non-fatal injuries to employees by most common accident kinds

Picture ref: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/kinds-of-accident.pdf

The statistics make for worrying reading and justify the heavy emphasis that companies, especially those working in the construction industry, place on height safety by raising awareness of the risks associated with working at height and prioritising effective training.

Many industries have made extensive improvements to working practices to protect their workforce, such as replacing steps and ladders with access platforms and making certain competency-based qualifications a mandatory requirement. However, replacing one type of equipment for a safer alternative won’t eliminate the risk of accidents, and, just like any other piece of equipment, they can impose a danger themselves if they are not properly maintained and operated. 

The Work at Height Regulations 2005

The purpose of Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury from a fall from height. The Work at Height regulations apply to all industries and workplaces, and every employer is expected to take the correct precautions if there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury.

As part of the Regulations, employers must ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • Those involved in work at height are competent
  • The risks from work at height are assessed
  • The appropriate work equipment is selected and is properly inspected and maintained

The HSE recommend following these simple steps before any work at height is undertaken:

  • 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 select the right type of equipment
  • If the risk cannot be eliminated, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using appropriate equipment

Whilst planning any work at height, managers and supervisors should ensure the following precautions are implemented to reduce risk:

  • Undertake 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, and is maintained and checked regularly
  • Avoid overloading equipment or overreaching when working at height
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
  • Provide protection from falling objects
  • Consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
Working at Height - Blue Genie Boom Lift

Height Safety Training for your Workforce

To comply with the Work at Height Regulations, employers must ensure that their staff are competent to work at height and to operate equipment safely. A-Plant is an award winning and fully accredited training provider and participants will receive an internationally recognised qualification to demonstrate compliance.

IPAF Training/ MEWP TrainingA-Plant (and Plantfinder in Scotland) are accredited IPAF Training Centres and offer the full range of IPAF courses, covering Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) such as Scissor Lifts, Self-Propelled Booms, Trailer Mounted Booms, Personnel Lifts, Van and Truck Mounted Booms and some special categories. Earlier in 2019, we received the IPAF Training Centre of the Year Award to commend a commitment to providing the highest quality IPAF training. A-Plant and Plantfinder provide the following categories of training:

  • PASMA Certified Mobile Access Tower Training
  • IPAF (MEWPs) Operator Training
  • IPAF PAL+ Advanced Operator Training
  • IPAF (MEWPs) Demonstrator Training
  • IPAF Push Around Vertical (PAV) Training
  • IPAF (MEWPs) Safety Harness Training
  • IPAF MEWPS for Managers Course

Work at Height Training: This course is based around the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and is accredited by NPORS. It is designed to give candidates an understanding of the regulations and what they mean for the employee as well as the employer. Upon completion of this course candidates will achieve an understanding of the current legislation surrounding working at height and how to effectively assess the risk. The course also covers wider issues affecting working at height, including, PPE, PUWER, vehicle safety and working near excavations.

Working at Height - Orange JLG Boom Lift

Hire from the most reliable and modern fleet in the Industry and access advice from our Team

In order to minimise risk and comply with Work at Height regulations, it is essential to ensure that all equipment is properly checked and maintained, and in good working order before each use. Hiring equipment from a provides certainty that equipment meets all regulations and standards. 

The A-Plant and Plantfinder teams will help you find the safest solution for the job you need to complete.  An understanding of the activity you need to complete at height, and the specific safety factors associated with it, means we can advise which mobile access equipment will get the job done and reduce the risk. By accessing this advice, you may be able to hire a new piece of equipment that you were not already aware of to get the job completed more efficiently and safely. 

We will assess the following safety factors to advise on the right equipment:

  • The working height you need to reach
  • Safe working load required
  • Location of the work, including the ground conditions and access arrangements
  • Requirement to access over or around an obstruction
  • Overhead obstructions, such as power lines or cables
  • Competency of the operator and current qualifications and training requirements
  • PPE requirements, including harnesses and fall arrest systems.

We constantly invest in the newest equipment on the market, and so hiring from A-Plant Powered Access or Plantfinder means you get the reassurance of reliable and safe equipment which meets all current LOLER and PUWER requirements.  When hiring equipment, you will receive certifications to demonstrate that all safety checks and maintenance requirements have been undertaken, and we will guide you through how to undertake the necessary safety checks each time the equipment is used.

You can browse the full range of equipment supplied by A-Plant Powered Access and Plantfinder here: https://www.aplantpoweredaccess.com and www.plantfinderlimited.com.

How to Hire from A-Plant Powered Access and Plantfinder

To hire all types of Powered Access equipment, you can visit our service centres and leave a deposit relative to the equipment value, or alternatively you can set up a credit account. This is a simple process that can be completed via email or in a service centre location. You will need to provide references and confirmation of insurances and then your credit account can be approved and activated within 24 to 48 hours! Once your account is set up, you can hire from any of 33 dedicated Powered Access service centres across the UK, and also access the thousands of other products available to hire from across the specialist A-Plant divisions. 

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