WernerCo urges: Don’t let the sun go down on the Working at Height Regulations
Jul 4, 2023
Although the latest news is that the UK government has scrapped plans to review or repeal all laws set out during the country’s time in the EU by the end of 2023, which includes the Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR), WernerCo, the world-leading manufacturer and distributor of access equipment, inclusive of the Werner, BoSS and ZARGES brands, warns that there could be uncertainty over the future of these important regulations.
With a vested interest in offering products that ensure the safety for tradespeople who regularly work at height on ladders, towers and access platforms, WernerCo is keen to emphasise just how vital these regulations are.
In May, the government announced that it was changing its approach to the sunsetting of EU Retained Laws. As a result of this change it was also confirmed that the WAHR are not set to be repealed in December 2023 as was initially planned. However, while, there is no imminent threat to them, reforms could lie ahead, which leaves them at risk of being diluted or revoked at a later date; affecting the 10 million plus people who are estimated to work at height in the UK.
Dave Elson, Compliance Manager at WernerCo, said: “Following Brexit, the government announced that EU-era laws would expire as of 31st December 2023, inclusive of the WAHR. Whilst only a small remainder of these laws are due to sunset on this date (excluding WAHR) following a change in approach, it leaves questions around their future. Potentially meaning a revocation at a later date, or the replacement of regulations with less water-tight legislation.
“This could result in unclear guidance for employers and those in control of workers who are working at height, which could mean a higher risks of accidents and a lack of accountability in some circumstances.
“Without them at all, employees would be left vulnerable given the relaxation of guidance and lack of legal obligations concerning their employers. For this reason, it is essential the industry works together to ensure the regulations remain and continue to protect those who work at height.”
The Health and Safety Executive reports that the most common cause of fatalities at work is falls from height. Between 2021 – 2022 of the 123 work-related injuries that lead to a fatality in the UK, 29 of them were a consequence of falling from height.
While this is far too many, a 2019 inquiry from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Working at Height found that since the introduction of the regulations, the UK has had some of the lowest fatality and injury rates in the European Union.
With this in mind, it is evident that the Working at Height Regulations in its current form is helping to ensure that there is clear guidance on the matter, which is leading to fewer devastating accidents.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Working at Height is asking interested parties to make contact with their local MP and ask them to lobby the government to ensure the retention of these vital regulations.
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