Every day there’s an accident or injury within UK construction sites, with some accidents ending up as fatalities.
There’s no question, working within any type of construction environment carries risks and dangers. When working at height is added into the mix the risks and danger multiply ten-fold. Quite often despite training, qualifications and clear-cut legislation as set by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), many contractors, scaffolding and site operatives fail to implement the correct safety equipment or follow legislation.
Risks When Working From Height
There’s no doubt in the array of risks and dangers when working at height. Dependant on industry, sector, task at hand and environment the worker is working in – risks can vary.
The main and most obvious danger when working at height is slips, trips and falls, which is also the most common cause of accidents for those working from height. The majority of falls can be so easily avoided, providing the correct preventative measures and scaffolding safety equipment is invested in and implemented correctly.
Preventative Measures and PPE – In Perspective
When workers are in an environment that requires them to work from height, whether that be a scaffolder, roofer, electrician or builder the correct fall prevention equipment must be in place. That said, not all the onus is on the site supervisor, manager or director. Employees, sub-contractors and those self-employed have just as much responsibility to ensure the scaffolding their working from is equipped with components such as hand-rails, guard rails, toe boards and scaffold safety netting.
There then comes into question additional safety precautions and PPE such as;
- Hard Hat
- Protective Boots
- Scaffold Safety Belt / Safety Harness
- Protective Gloves (Where Applicable)
- Protective Goggles (Where Applicable)
In the case of employees, it would be the employer’s responsibility to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In the case of those self-employed such as sub-contractors, the responsibility would be on the sub-contractor or self-employed professional to be fully equipped with the correct PPE to conduct the job they were contracted to do.
The Statistics in Perspective
Information Source RoSPA
It’s safe to say there’s no price that can replace a life.
Working at height is a risky and dangerous job, with so many sectors, industries and tradesmen – scaffolders or not, regularly required to work at height in some of the most dangerous sectors there is.
Regardless of the sector you may be in or the job you’re conducting, when working at height is required make sure you have sufficient and correct PPE. Make ultra-certain the scaffolding, platform or access system your working from is fully equipped with correct scaffolding safety equipment.
If in doubt shout!
Perhaps not literally, but should you not be happy with the expectations you have to work at height from dangerous scaffolding, don’t just carry on regardless – speak up and make your concerns known. Make sure it’s recorded, don’t put your life and the life of others at risk, just because somebody has decided to cut corners and scrimp on safety.