Mitigating the Dangers of Working at Height

Posted on 31st Mar, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham

work-at-height

A Coventry engineering firm has paid £20,000 in fines after an employee fell 16 feet whilst carrying out regular maintenance work.

The worker had been carrying out cleaning and maintenance work when the accident occurred in August 2013. The job involved accessing guttering via ladders and although the worker initially climbed onto a small roof, he suffered injuries when he fell through a roof sheet onto the factory floor, causing damage to his ribs.

The court was informed that no mitigating measures were put in place by the company to prevent falls. Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive also revealed that work had been carried out regularly on the site in the same manner, presenting a long term risk to staff.

The engineering firm pleaded guilty on Monday 24th March 2014 to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and the Managing Director of the company has stated that the company takes full responsibility for the incident. Since that time, the company has announced plans to review their Health and Safety procedures more regularly to prevent further failings.

Working at height is inherently dangerous, and is still one of the biggest causes of fatalities and injuries in industry. Most commonly, workers are injured during falls from ladders, access equipment, and through fragile surfaces as in this recent case.

Safety when Working at Height

The Health and Safety Executive states that a risk assessment should be carried out before staff work at height. It also highlights the importance of avoiding work at height where it is ‘reasonably practicable’.

There are many situations where working at height simply cannot be avoided, in these cases falls and accidents should be prevented by ensuring that all staff, the workplace and access equipment are kept as safe as possible.

Having the right equipment is key to ensuring your employees are safe when at work. You may believe you have good quality, reliable equipment, but how often do you get it checked?

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Ladder Inspections

Ladders are a key piece of equipment for any business whose staff work at height. Ensuring that they are fit for purpose is the legal responsibility of any company that uses them.

Here at Browns Ladders, we carry out professional ladder inspections, which ensure that your ladders and access equipment are safe.

With 17 years’ experience in carrying out safety and ladder inspections, our team know the warning signs for equipment that may not give you and your staff the protection you need. We can arrange to visit your business as regularly as you need to ensure that equipment stays in as good a working order as the day you bought it.

How often does your business need a ladder inspection?

Frequency of use plays a key role in how often you need your equipment inspected:

  • 3 monthly checks for equipment used frequently/daily
  • 6 monthly checks for equipment used occasionally/weekly
  • 12 monthly checks for equipment used infrequently/monthly

To enquire about a place on one of our working at height safety training courses with Browns Safety you can simply give us a call, email us or use the innovative chat facility on our website.

How do you protect your staff while working at height? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @BrownsLadders!

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