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Rich Grinham's Safety Tips for Working at Height

WSP Engineering’s Senior HSE Manager shares Safety Tips for Working at Height

Working at Height 1

It is a central tenet in Health and Safety legislation that those who create risk must take responsibility for controlling it (Robens Report). Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries. 

Work at height means work in any workplace, where if there were no precautions in place a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. 

With the above in mind it is important to consider all instances of work at height and plan ahead,  remembering the principle for controls to be practical and proportionate to the risk. 

At WSP Engineering, we keep this as simple as possible whilst still considering all the safety factors involved in WAH. We do this by using and training the following principles.

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Working at Height 3

Eliminate – redesign the task to remove the hazard.

Replace – replace the hazard with a safer alternative.

Isolate – use engineering controls to prevent the hazard.

Control – use administrative, organisational or technical controls to reduce the hazard.

PPE – appropriate to the potential hazards of the task

Discipline – effective communication and compliance assurance. All controls are monitored, reviewed and enforced.

It is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 that all work must be planned. The regulations require that companies carry out a risk assessment in organising and planning work and identifying the suitable and sufficient precautions required. The objective is to make sure all work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

Plan for the foreseeable risks in all situations, plan for emergencies, rescue and agree on a procedure for safe evacuations.  

Unsafe acts and unsafe conditions are almost always the result of underlying failures. e.g. Lack of proper information or training, unsafe systems of work, poorly maintained or unsuitable equipment, poor or no planning, unclear responsibilities and lack of supervision.

Remember Robens “those who create risk must take responsibility for controlling it”. What’s your plan?

Thanks for taking the time to read Rich Grinham’s top safety tips for working at height.

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