This Guidance Note gives practical information about using access equipment.
Sample templates have been included in Appendices 1 & 2. If you wish to use these templates to construct your own documents, you must ensure that all references to Alcumus SafeContractor Accreditation have been removed and the final documents are clearly incorporated into your existing safety management system.
Nature of the Problem
Falls are the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and the second most common cause of major injuries. The application of correct safety management can reduce the risks that they pose.
All industry sectors are exposed to the risks presented by work at height although the incidence varies considerably. The risk of falls is prevalent within the construction sector. 34 of the 72 fatalities in the construction industry in 2007/2008 resulted from a fall from height.
Most accidents involving falls could have been prevented if the right equipment had been provided, and if the equipment had been adequately maintained and was properly used. But experience shows that as many falls arise due to poor management as are caused by equipment failure.
Key faults include a failure:
To recognise a problem
To ensure that safe systems of work are followed
To provide safe systems of work
To supply adequate information, instruction, training or supervision provided
To ensure use equipment supplied
To provide safe plant/equipment
However, the best approach is to eliminate work at height if possible.
The most common incidents involve overreaching, over-balancing, equipment failure, misuse of equipment, unexpected movement (particularly where ladders are involved) and the failure of a fragile surface.
The main where falls take place are:
The Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) which came into effect in April 2005 consolidated and clarified the requirements for working at height.
The legal requirements governing work at height are:
Work at height be avoided where possible
All work at height is properly planned and organised
Those involved in work at height are competent
The risks from working at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
The risks from working on fragile surfaces are properly controlled
Equipment for work at height is properly inspected and maintained.
The Regulations include Schedules that highlight requirements for existing places of work, and means of access for work at height, collective fall prevention (e.g. guardrails, working platforms), collective fall arrest (e.g. nets, airbags etc.), personal fall protection (e.g. work restraints, lanyards) and ladders.
Duty holders must:
Avoid work at height where they can;
Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height;
Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.
Please note that the regulations apply to all work at height where there is risk of a fall that is liable to cause personal injury. The previous 2 metre rule no longer applies.