The importance of complying with Work at Height Regulations

Posted on 23rd Oct, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham

Today on the Browns blog we’re looking at one of our favourite topics – ensuring employee safety when working from heights. In fact, we’re so passionate about this topic that we developed a range of courses that offer working at height training using both theory and practise to ensure optimum awareness.

Keeping you safe at heights

It’s extremely important to comply with The Work at Height Regulations 2005. Doing so will help to prevent death and injury in your workplace. The regulations ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. They also highlight that those working at a height must use the right type of equipment. Risk assessments are key to keeping safe and need to be carried out by those in control and those carrying out the work as employees too have legal duties to take care of themselves and others, who may be affected by their decisions and their actions.

So, what can happen if you fail to comply with the regulations? Apart from serious injuries and even death, as described above, you will probably be subject to big fines and potentially the downfall of your business.

Failure to comply with Work at Height Regulations: Real world examples

£12,000 fine for unsafe work at height

In October 2014, a Covent Garden-based civil engineering contractor was prosecuted for safety failings after an inspection at one of their construction sites identified multiple work-at-height risks.
Issues included:

  • Missing or inadequate edge protection in several locations – exposing workers to potential falls of between three and eight metres
  • Unsafe temporary ladders in place of a staircase that been removed
  • Missing toe boards and other edge protection on several tower scaffolds
  • Materials and equipment, including a heavy fire extinguisher, left on edges where they were liable to fall and cause injury

Although nobody was injured on site the potential for serious injuries and falls was very real. As a result, the company was fined a total of £11,500 and ordered to pay £1,369 in costs.

£6,000 fine for company after employee fell and broke his elbow

An Essex security firm was fined after a maintenance engineer broke his elbow when he fell more than three metres through fragile ceiling tiles at a site. The engineer was attempting to access an electrical control panel in a ceiling void to fix a faulty roller shutter door when the incident happened. The accident was a result of:

  • The security firm failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment that identified the fragile ceiling service
  • Failing to implement measures to prevent falls through the surface when work was being undertaken in the void.

The firm were fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £440 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

To improve your knowledge on how to work safely at a height, why not enquire about our Working at Heights training course? You can contact us on 01282 615517

Have you ever experienced a fall from a height? If so tell us about the incident in the comments below, or tweet us your story @BrownsLadders

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