Often, lifting operations will involve workers working at some level of height, whether small or large, and it is important that the necessary steps and precautions are taken in order to protect all of those involved. We have explored in greater depth the need for fall protection training in the workplace.
Fatal injuries at work in 2016
Unfortunately, there were 144 fatal injuries in the workplace over the working year 2015/16. Of these injuries, over a quarter were due to falling from height, with the number coming in at 37. Of these:
- 18 were in the construction sector
- 7 were in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector
- 4 were in the manufacturing sector
With so many of these accidents being caused by falling from height, it’s clear why there is such a need to place a high level of focus on fall protection training.
What is ‘working at height’?
‘Working at height’ is deemed, by the Health and Safety Executive, to be work that is undertaken at any height that is completed at one level from another level. If a fall is less than this, it is not classified as working at height. This means that slips or trips on the level, or a trip on a permanent staircase, is not classified as a fall from height.
It’s necessary to take the right steps to prevent against falling
You are therefore working at height if:
- You’re working above the ground level
- It is possible that you could fall from an edge and through an opening or fragile surface
- It is possible that you could fall from the ground level and through an opening in the ground, such as a hole
The HSE offers some simple advice that you can follow before you begin to work at height:
- If possible, avoiding working from height
- If you are unable to do so, then you must prevent falls by first using a place of work that is already deemed safe, or by using the appropriate equipment
- Do everything you can to minimise any distances, and therefore consequences, of a fall. If you can’t completely eliminate this risk, then ensure that you use the appropriate equipment
The Work at Height Regulations 2005
If you must work from height, then part of your need for workplace training is because you must comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Training will help you comply with the following areas:
- Ensuring all operations are properly planned
- Ensuring any involved with the operation are competent
- Allow for the proper assessment of the risks of the operation
- Manage any risks from working either on, or close by, to fragile surfaces
- That proper inspections can be carried out for any equipment being used in the operation
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