The nation’s high streets are being adorned with sparkling illuminations and colourful decorations to delight shoppers as they go about their festive shopping. But spare a thought for the workers who scale the heights every year to brighten up our Christmas shopping trips.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries, with cases commonly being falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces, such as glass roofs and tarpaulins. This makes protecting workers from the dangers of falls a priority for anyone with health and safety responsibilities.
Working at height
‘Work at height’ means work that takes place in any location or situation where a person could fall a distance likely to cause personal injury – for example, from a ladder, scaffolding or even the top of a Christmas tree.
Health and Safety legislation states that anybody exposed to risk to their health and safety should be provided with the relevant PPE. Employers must provide the correct protection measures for anyone working where there is risk of a fall.
If it is not feasible to eliminate the hazard, a PPE system must be selected and used. A Height Safety system consists of a full body harness, an intermediate attachment and an anchorage connector; it can only be used if there is a suitable anchorage point. All items should be CE certified and conform to the relevant standards (category 3 – PPE against mortal or serious and irreversible danger).
Work at height accident prevention
The HSE advises that anyone in charge of those who work at height should always:
- Encourage workers to work as much 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, maintained and checked regularly
- Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
- Provide protection from falling objects
- Consider and provide for emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
The HSE also advises taking into consideration the equipment or materials workers will be using before they begin working at height, to avoid overreach or strenuous, heavy tasks on ladders or stepladders.
Here’s a handy checklist to run through when you have a team that will be working from height and you want to be sure you’ve done all you can to protect them:
- Do your employees have the right fall protection equipment?
- Are your employees trained to check and use using the equipment correctly?
- Is this equipment routinely inspected by a competent person?
- Do you store and care for fall safety equipment properly?
- Is your fall protection equipment within date and in good condition?
Contego Safety Solutions offers a broad range of height safety products to suit most circumstances and budgets, including height safety harnesses, retractable and adjustable lanyards, lines, attachments and connecting devices, tool safety accessories and helmets and tripods.
Take a look at our Height Safety Product Buying Guide for detailed information, safety guidelines and product features for working at height.
Discover Contego’s extensive range of work at height safety equipment and PPE – download the Contego Catalogue now, visit our website www.contegosafety.co.uk or contact our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or to place your order.