Falls from height tend to loom large in any statistical breakdown of accidents in the workplace and this is, of course, in no small part due to the fact that they are likely to have catastrophic results. You don’t have to look hard to find a fall from height in the news. For many years, the highest number of deaths and life changing injuries follow falls from height and this is both sad and, in part, preventable.
Training for any job needs to be rigorous and timely. People who work every day at height can get a little blasé after a while and this is why it is essential to make sure that training is refreshed at frequent intervals. Workers at height need to be confident in what they do, because anyone who is not completely at home in their surroundings can become hesitant and this can cause accidents in itself. There is a fine line to draw though between confident, deft and surefooted and thoughtless and inconsiderate. Training in safety techniques as well as the actual nuts and bolts of working at height in general and with specific equipment – most usually MEWPs (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) is essential and needs updating frequently.
An employer has responsibility towards staff and this is clearly laid down in a number of government white papers and other legislation, but an employee also has responsibility for both their own and others’ safety. Correct training, such as that given by Boss Training, can make workers aware of what they need to do to keep others safe. When the matter of working at height is concerned, they should know the risks and also the consequences of inadequate preparation of equipment and safety harnesses as well as ignoring working guidelines. Statistics are not broken down into the type of accident precisely so it is not possible to say what causes specific accidents caused by working at height, but suffice it to say that in the last lot of figures published, five such incidents a day are logged, fortunately not all of them serious and of course only a small proportion of them fatal.
Not all Work at Height is the same
It is easy to suppose that training for working at height with one piece of equipment fits a person to work with something else but this is wrong. Many of the accidents happening when people are working at height are caused because the victim of the accident has had only general training and have been asked to do a job on equipment or in an environment with which they are not comfortable. As well as needing training in all aspects of health and safety, workers must also speak up if they are not properly equipped to work in certain situations. No employer would be allowed to penalise someone who did not feel adequately trained – proper training can save lives as well as many wasted man hours caused by the perennial problem of falls from heights.
Content by Rob Steen, freelance copywriter who specialises in health and safety.