As an industry, we’re well-versed in the dangers working at height can present.
But unfortunately, in recent times we’ve seen our industry hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The injury or death of a tradesperson or scaffolder is something we at Leach’s work incredibly hard to prevent, but according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the death rate is on the rise. Falls from height account for one third of all fatal injuries.
As Covid-19 restrictions ease and more of us head back to work, we as an industry need to sharpen our focus on safety and continue on the path of improving working practices on site. Scaffolding regulations will play a crucial role in this.
Scaffolding regulations help cultivate a culture of safety
Regulations will always play a vital role in improving the health and safety of workers on site. In the scaffolding industry specifically, scaffolding standards centre mostly on the theme of height safety.
Perhaps the most important of those regulations is the Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). According to the WAHR, working at height refers to:
“Work in any place, including a place at or below ground level, or obtaining access to or egress from such a place, while at work, except by a staircase, where, if suitable measures were not taken, a person could fall a distance likely to cause personal injury.”
So, working at height refers to any work conducted whereby a fall from distance could result in injury. There is always a risk element attached to working at height. Perhaps accidents are even inevitable from time to time. However, this regulation is vital for that safety culture to continue spreading industry wide.
What are the most common working at height injuries?
According to HSE, the most common cause of accidents when working at height is on the roofs of factories, warehouses, or farm buildings. From roof lights and liner panels to rotted chipboard, slates and tiles, there is an ever-present risk of an accident occurring if the correct safety measures are not implemented and adhered to.
To alleviate these risks, the WAHR stipulate that those managing the work at height, or those working at height, must:
- Do as much work as possible from the ground
- Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
- Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
- Make sure you don’t overload or overreach when working at height
- Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
- Provide protection from falling objects
- Consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
There are also a range other factors that should be considered, such as weather conditions, worker competencies and more.
Although overarching regulations such as the WAHR have done a tremendous job of improving the culture of safety within the scaffolding and construction industries more generally, much of the equipment used must also now meet a certain standard in order to use.
Safety helmets - is yours fit for purpose?
Take safety helmets as an example. Designed to protect your most prized asset (your head), it’s imperative you opt for one that has been designed for the ultimate safety. Adhering to the relevant regulations will ensure this.
One safety helmet specific regulation is the EN397 standard. This ensures workers are protected against falling objects. You can trust that a safety helmet complying with this regulation will deliver approved protection against mechanical impacts to the head, safeguarding the wearer against brain injuries or skull fractures.
The EN12492:2012 standard delivers similar reassurances. Targeted more specifically at climbing, it also ensures wearers are protected from impacts from the front, side and rear, as well as the top.
Combine these two standards together into one helmet and you have the ultimate protection for working at height – the BIGBEN UltraLite Height Safety Helmet.
Safety harnesses – is yours delivering the ultimate protection?
Safety harnesses are designed to hold the user in place and spread the wearers weight load in the case of a fall. The EN361:2002 full body harness regulation puts harnesses through a rigorous performance test to ensure it achieves this effectively.
A harness which complies with the EN361:2002 regulation gives the wearer the confidence they are using a harness that is safe to use for working at height applications. Be sure to look out for this in the product spec of any safety harness you’re looking to procure.
Safety lanyards that save lives
Fall arrest lanyards connect the attachment point of a full body harness to a suitable anchorage device. The lanyard features a shock absorber helping to reduce the force applied to the user by gradually arresting a fall.
The EN355:2002 energy absorber standards subjects a lanyard to detailed testing to ensure dynamic performance, static strength, and corrosion resistance. That means you can trust a EN355:2002 approved lanyard to offer superior safety, and also withstand exposure to the surrounding environments.
Leach's make scaffolding safe
Scaffolding regulations and the additional height safety equipment standards will help us improve the culture around safety on site. At Leach’s, we always encourage scaffolders and tradespersons to use of the safest equipment possible when working at height, not just to adhere with the latest scaffolding regulations, but to help everyone get home safely at the end of the working day.
If you need any support in utilising equipment that complies with the relevant regulations, contact our dedicated sales team on 01432 346 890.