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Getting it Right on Falls from Height

As part of what the government calls its Red Tape Challenge, the scheme by which ‘outdated or over-complicated regulations’ are improved or abolished, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has overhauled its guidance for Working at Height to make it easier for employers and employees to understand what the law requires of them when working at height.

 

The HSE estimates that more than 1 million British businesses and 10 million workers carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year and falls are one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury at work.

 

According to the latest National Specialist Contractor’s Council (NSCC) Accident Survey, 24.9% of all major injuries to specialist contractors in 2012/13 were caused by falls from height. A fall from a height of more than 2m was also the cause of the only fatality recorded by NSCC members during this period. The new guidance from the HSE sets out in simple terms what is required when working at height and addresses common myths that might confuse or mislead employers.

 

Key changes to the guidance include:

 

•Providing simple advice about dos and don’ts when working at height to ensure employers and workers are clear on what the law requires.

•Debunking some of the persistent myths about health and safety law, such as the banning of ladders in situations where they can still be used.

• Offering targeted advice to help business in different sectors manage serious risks sensibly and proportionately.

• Helping workers to be clearer about their responsibilities for working safely.

 

“It’s important to get working at height right,” stated Judith Hackitt, Chair, HSE. “Falls remain one of the biggest causes of serious workplace injury – with more than 40 people killed and 4,000 suffering major injuries every year. We have a sensible set of regulations and have been working with business to improve our guidance – making it simpler and clearer and dispelling some of the persistent myths about what the law requires.”

 

For further information visit the HSE website: www.hse.gov.uk

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