The single biggest cause of work place deaths

In 2003/04 falls from height accounted for 67 fatal accidents at work and nearly 4000 serious injuries. They remain the single biggest cause of work place deaths and one of the main causes of major injury in the UK.

In July 2004 a draft copy of “the work at height regulations” was implemented and on 6th April 2005 they came into force. They are written for employers, employees, self-employed and anyone who works at height and will have a major impact on all sectors of industry.

The regulations apply to “all work at height” where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause injury. The duty of care is with any person who controls the work of others ( e.g. facility managers, building owners who may contract others to work at height) to the extent they control the work.

Regulations Hierarchy

Duty Holders Must :

Avoid work at height wherever possible.

  • Remove the need to work at height.
  • Automate the process.

Find the safest way possible.

  • Permanent structures: platforms & stairs.
  • Temporary structures: scaffolds & ladders
  • Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (M.E.W.P.) e.g. a cherry picker
  • Should be suitable and fit for propose.
  • Should be cost effective.

Consider Collective Protection.

  • Airbag systems.
  • Bean bag systems.
  • Netting.

Use work equipment or other measures to-

  • Prevent falls
  • Minimise the distance and consequences of the fall.
  • Should a fall happen, be prepared to quickly and effectively undertake a rescue
  • Be aware of the dangers during and after a fall.
  • Be aware of the consequences and treatment of post fall trauma.

Current regulations require that a rescue plan be in place for those who work at
height. Some times a rescue can only be undertaken by other members of the
work team, therefore training for safe work and rescue at height is essential.
It is also a requirement that all work at height equipment be thoroughly
examined and recorded by a competent person every 6 months.