The standard image of “working at height” is someone on scaffolding or up window cleaners up ladders. The true definition is more extensive.
Definition of “The Work at Height Regulations”
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) are the main piece of British legislation around the topic. They state that work that takes place “at or below ground level” is covered by the laws just as much as above groundwork at height. In fact, any task where a fall might cause an injury falls within the remit of the WAHR.
What Counts as Working at Height, at or Below Ground Level?
“Anything involving a potential fall liable to lead to personal injury” lead to the definition of working at height. This means that the regulations cover many projects that take place below ground, such as inspection pits, one of the most cause of accidents.
You can Be Fined if You Ignore the Regulation
The London Borough of Lewisham has been found guilty and fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £65,000 in costs for failing to manage and control the risk of persons falling into vehicle inspection pits at their Wearside Service Centre in Ladywell.
Southwark Crown Court heard how a visitor to the Wearside Service Centre in Ladywell fell into a pit striking her head while work was being undertaken at the site.
A Garage has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, after an employee suffered life changing injuries when he fell into a vehicle inspection pit.
HSE inspector Kate Clark said: “Serious injuries or death can be prevented if basic safeguards such as barriers or pit covers are put in place. There is clear guidance for garages about vehicle inspection pits.” (AM Online – 09/04/2021).
Kee Systems Offers Fall Prevention Solutions
Kee Systems is a distributor of Oxford Safety Components.
Oxford Safety Components focus on workplace fall protection and safe access systems, catering for a variety of industries, from construction to aerospace, automotive and facilities. All systems are fully adjustable and they mitigate falls from height and improve workplace safety.
Pit Protect Vehicle Pit Cover
PitProtect is a lightweight and adjustable, concertina, designed to prevent workers from falling into vehicle inspection pits, whilst still giving access to the underside of the vehicle. It is used in the Motor Vehicle Repair industry. The system is fully adjustable in both length and width.
The CoverSafe Spark (loft crawl board) is an insulated, lightweight mat, that prevents falls through ceilings and open voids. It provides a safe working platform for inspections, plumbing, aerial, solar, inverter, electrical and maintenance work.
Roof Safety Matting is a temporary work platform to prevent users from falling onto the joists of the floor below, or even further. CoverSafe mats prevents falls when spreading roof trusses, fitting wind braces, or working on a girder truss or hip roof construction.
All the Steps Necessary to Protect Workers During Ground or Above Level Working at Height
Many of the steps employers need to take to protect workers during ground level working at height are the same as the ones they need to take when the work is above ground:
Risk Assessments – A complete risk assessment needs to be drawn up along with a thorough safety plan for the project. All hazards should be identified and their corresponding control measures recorded and monitored to decide how effective they are.
Employee Feedback – The people conducting the work at height should be asked for their input, as they’re likely to have the best idea of which safety measures the work requires.
Provide the Right Equipment – The employer needs to provide all the necessary equipment to carry out the job well and safely. This covers access equipment such as ladders and platforms, which must be inspected very regularly to ensure they’re always in good working order. It also covers personal protective equipment (PPE) for all workers.
Work With Kee Systems
Kee Systems provides a complete solution from technical advice through to supply and installation of Fall Protection Solutions.