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Last edited 18 Feb 2020
Work at height checklist for managers
Although there are many types of work from height, ranging from using mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) to step ladders, guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) refers to a basic ‘hierarchy’ of safety measures, applicable in all cases.
HSE’s hierarchy begins with consideration of how work at height can be avoided, and it ends with using personal equipment that is designed to prevent fall injury. Below, we give examples of what HSE’s hierarchy can mean in building engineering services. We also highlight other essential considerations that will enable managers to develop safe systems of work, help onsite supervisors and crucially, help to protect operatives from falls at work.
|Managers (or anyone managing work at height) should follow this general hierarchy of measures wherever possible…||Examples relevant to various types of building engineering services may include…|
1. Avoid working at height
Fully assess the task to be undertaken – is it reasonably practicable carry the work out another way other than at height
Consider any situations that may increase the risk of harm.
3. Prevent falls from occurring
4. Prevent falls through providing collective protection
Select appropriate control measures.
5. Prevent falls through providing personal protection
6. Minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall using collective protection
7. Minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall using personal protection (the last resort)
Other essential considerations include…
- Work at height is planned and supervised by people who have sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to do the job safely
- Everyone engaged with work at height understands the task-relevant safe system of work (SSoW) and any relevant parts of a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) for construction work
- Anyone under training works only under effective and competent supervision, in accordance with the SSoW
- All access equipment to be assembled or installed, used and maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions and current standards
- Where the effectiveness of the equipment depends on how it has been assembled or installed it should be inspected by a competent person before work commences
- Any access or safety equipment should be inspected regularly and any damaged equipment (e.g. due to physical wear) – or any equipment with unauthorised modifications - must be withdrawn, replaced or repaired, as necessary to ensure safety
- Record all equipment inspections at least to statutory guidelines
- All working platforms from where a person could fall must be inspected:
- At least every seven days
- After assembly or adaptation in any position
- After any event likely to affect its strength or stability
- Following the actual deployment of safety equipment (e.g. a fall into a safety net or air bag system)
- Ensure that working surfaces at height are not overloaded with materials or equipment, and that they are kept clear (good housekeeping)
- Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they will work at height
- Ensure all surfaces for placing or attaching access equipment are stable and strong enough for use
- Provide sufficient protection from falling objects (e.g. materials and work equipment) for anyone who may be below
- Ensure that sufficient time has been allocated so that the task can be completed safely
- Do not put or require anyone to work who is unfit to work at height.
This article was written by Paul Reeve, ECA Director of Business. It was originally published by ECA on 8th February 2019 at: https://www.eca.co.uk/blog/february-2019/work-at-height-a-checklist-for-managers
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