12/21/2007

Work at a height

Falls from a height remain one of the main causes of fatal work accidents,
especially in the construction industry, where there are still 1,300 deaths in
Europe each year. Like their human, financial and economic impact, the human
cost of these accidents is not acceptable: falls cause fatalities and a wide
range of serious injuries including, in some cases, total loss of mobility
(tetraplegia) and various types of impediment and partial disability. Such
injuries limit workers' scope for reintegration into work and leading to a
substantial loss of income. Such accidents can also have an adverse effect on
the public image of the sectors concerned, making it more difficult to attract
young people and retain older workers.

Europe must rise to the challenge of improving the quality of employment. First
of all, in order to contend with demographic ageing, which will reduce the
working population and create fiercer competition between sectors of activity
to attract and retain workers. And secondly, because we must safeguard the
quality of European products and services in order to remain competitive at
world level.

Reducing the number of falls from a height is therefore essential and if we are
to achieve it we must involve every one of the players, from all sectors, in
particular construction, SMEs (the vast majority of firms in the construction
sector) the self-employed, social partners, public authorities, insurance and
social security funds, and labour inspection services.

The Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002-2006 called for
increased efforts to achieve a continuing reduction in the number of accidents.
The adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of Directive 2001/45/EC
concerning the use of work equipment for work at a height is a concrete and
effective way of meeting this commitment.

Therefor a new Non-binding guide to good practice for implementing - Directive
2001/45/EC has been published. This guide serves as a basis, especially for
small and medium-sized enterprises, to help choose the most appropriate work
equipment for performing temporary work at a height. It will help enterprises
both to improve the safety of their workers and to control their production
costs.

By putting together the ‘best practices' identified by a large number of
European experts, it also allows the players involved in the prevention of
accidents to apply the Directive efficiently.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work