11/07/2005

Falls from height - British inspection pack published

Falls from height are the most common cause of workplace fatal injuries to
employees and the self-employed, and now anyone working to help control the
risks, or wishing to develop a good knowledge of the issue, can access a
publication intended for British HSE inspectors.

Work at Height is in any place, including a place at or below ground level,
(including access and egress from such a place of work) where a person could
fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. Precautions are needed where
there is a risk of injury from a fall irrespective of fall height. There is no
longer a 2-metre 'rule' in construction. The Regulations require risk
assessment to decide whether precautions are needed and in what form.
Precautions are expected above 2 metres and in 9 times out of 10 this will be
the provision of fall prevention in the form of guardrails.

For fall heights below 2 metres duty holders should assess the risk and provide
sensible precautions that reflect the risk. Low falls should be dealt with
where they are matters of evident concern (e.g. a narrow working platform less
than 2 metres high alongside a production line particularly if a person has to
work with their back to the open edge or a fall below 2 metres onto an uneven
surface con-taining sharp edges or protrusions. A risk assessment should
conclude that fall prevention should be required in both situations as there is
a risk of injury if a person was to fall). Over half of the major injuries
reported are due to low falls. Duty holders should move away from thinking high
and low falls. They should think all falls and take precautions where there is
a risk of injury from a fall. Any culture that thinks no risks exist below 2
metres should be challenged.

The now published Inspectors checklist, which references prohibition and
improvement notices with failures to control risks, serves as a reminder of how
easily work on site can potentially be disrupted by enforcement action.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Safetynews