The Risk of Misconception when Working at Height
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), working at height is still one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace. Employers and employees have a legal obligation to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by their actions and the HSE requires all employees to follow a hierarchy of control measures, the most important of which is to avoid working at height if possible. When avoiding working at height is not possible, the employer is legally bound to take precautions to eliminate or minimise the risks involved. Knowing which precautions are effective can be difficult, partly due to the fact that there are many misconceptions when it comes to working at height. Today we’re going to take a look at some of these misconceptions.
If equipment is CE marked, it’s guaranteed to be safe
A company focusing on meeting the minimum legislative or site requirements in order to find the cheapest solution may inadvertently put lives at risk. Not only should the equipment bear a CE mark, it should be the right equipment for the task at hand. It’s worth bearing in mind that some items of equipment may bear fake CE marks. The fact that CE also stands for Chinese Export can cause confusion so it’s vital that you learn the difference between the two marks.
You don’t need to inspect equipment before every use
Equipment should be checked before use every single time – this is just as important for safety as choosing the correct equipment. Regulation 12 of the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) fully explains the duties for inspection when it comes to access equipment and personal protection equipment. While the regulations don’t provide information about the criteria for individual products, they do contain general advice on inspection regimes and information on the frequency, procedure and level of detail of inspections and advice on the type of records that should be kept. Equipment should be checked before every use, preferably by the worker who will use it. This inspection need only take a few minutes and should involve a detailed visual check and a check on the function of any components.
You don’t need specific training for working at height
Nothing could be further from the truth – falls occur not just as a result of the lack of proper safety equipment, but also result from a lack of relevant training on how to use access equipment and why safety is a vital issue. Safety is not just a matter of having the correct equipment, it’s essential that you know how to use it correctly, whether we’re talking about access equipment or personal protection equipment Work at height safety training should include:
- Regular inspection, use and maintenance of personal protection equipment
- Identification, elimination and control of potential fall hazards
- Carrying out routine of a fall protection plan
- Compliance with the relevant industry standards.
Work at height regulations require that anybody using personal protection equipment should be properly trained by a competent person which means that every employer will need to identify the competent person on their workforce to oversee it fall protection plan and ensure that every worker is prepared before undertaking the job.