Stepping up to Safety series 1: Training up
Aug 8, 2022
Werner, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of ladders and access equipment, is championing health and safety training with the launch of its new campaign ‘Stepping up to Safety’. In this mini-series, Trevor Rabson, Werner’s Training Manager, will look at why training is so important when it comes to working at height safely, what contractors need to consider and how best practice can make all the difference between safe working and potential injuries.
Series 1 goes back to basics looking at the regulations and what contractors need to do to adhere to them.
According to the latest reports from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height accounted for 44% of all non-fatal injuries over the past 5 years and 25% of all fatal injuries, therefore it’s crucial that contractors top up their training and follow best practice guidelines to make working at height both easier and safer.
Education is a very real issue when it comes to overcoming falls from height. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) are very clear that anyone who works at height must be ‘competent’ to do so. However, there is a widespread perception that ladders and working at height equipment are simple to use, so why would you need training? It is this complacency that leads to falls from height incidents and a mindset that needs to be changed. But what regulations should be adhered to?
What are the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) 2005?
The WAHR are a set of rules that must be followed when any work is undertaken at a height with the aim of preventing deaths and injuries, they are mandatory for all employers and people who control work at height and are enforceable by law.
The regulations define work at height as any task where there is a risk of staff falling from one level to another. This includes work above the ground or floor, near an edge where someone could fall through an opening or surface, and at ground level where someone could fall through an opening.
Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height.
The WAHR are also very clear that employees have general legal duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions, and to co-operate with their employer to enable their health and safety duties and requirements to be complied with.
However, to minimise any confusion, we’ve busted some common myths surrounding the WAHR below:
- Ladders and stepladders are banned for work at height: This isn’t true and both ladders and stepladders are suitable for low-risk, short duration tasks. However, they do need to be used by someone who is competent and knows what faults to check for before use.
- Employers are solely responsible for work at height: While an employer does shoulder the majority of responsibility, the regulations include employee responsibilities as well.
- Work at height includes jobs that involve walking up and down a staircase: The regulations do not apply to permanent staircases in buildings.
- Work at height includes slips or trips on the level: This is untrue. Although you are technically falling from your own ‘height’, the regulations only apply to falls from one level to another level below.
- A competent person must be professionally qualified: This isn’t true, though the level of competence needs to be appropriate to the job at hand. Competence isn’t just training, but a combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a steady increase in the uptake of training, but nowhere near enough with the staggering number of people using working at height equipment on a daily basis. Needless to say, knowing how to use working at height equipment safely is of vital importance and can quite literally save a life. Training has to be a priority if we’re to see any positive change to the accident figures.
Safety has always been a priority at Werner, and it is proud to lead the way in promoting safety in the workplace by launching its ladder safety campaign, Stepping up to Safety, to help professionals stay safe when working at height.
To find out more information on the Stepping up to Safety campaign, visit: Stepping up to Ladder Safety
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