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Working At Height
N.B. This document is long but you can easily navigate through it by selecting
the ‘view’ menu on the top left hand side
of your computer screen and choose ‘document map’. Click on a heading to take you directly to that
point. Alternatively the contents page is also directly linked to the section
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Use of Step Ladders
Part 3: Use of Tower
Part 5: Use of Scaffolds
Part 6: Roof Work and
Part 7: Steeplejack
Part 8: Rope Access
Throughout the UK in
2001/2002, 68 people died and nearly 4,000 suffered a serious injury as a
result of a fall from height in the workplace.
Falls from height are the most common cause of fatal injury and the
second most common cause of major injury to employees, accounting for 15% of
all such injuries. Many activities in a sugar factory involve
working at heights (WAH).
section covers the Company procedures to be followed when engaged in work at
“Work in any place, including a place at or below ground level;
Obtaining access to or egress from such a place while at work, except by
a staircase in a permanent workplace, where, if measures required by the
Regulations were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause
Work at height includes:
The use of ladders, step-ladders,
The use of scaffolding,
The use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs),
The use of scaffold towers;
Steeple jacking, rope access;
Roof work and access to roofs;
Work in lift shafts;
Sheeting vehicles or access to top of road tankers;
Working near and access to pits and excavations;
selection of work equipment and the use of access or work areas, additional
reference must be made to any food safety/hygiene requirements laid down in
regulations can be viewed at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/uk.htm
enter “work at height” in to the search engine.
HSE ‘Falls’ page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm
main hazards associated with work at heights are:
Things falling onto people. These
may occur as a result of inadequate edge protection or securing of people or
equipment or due to structural collapse, e.g. caused by component failure or
assessment should be carried out before any work at heights is undertaken. The risk assessment should consider the
hierarchy of prevention as
working at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so, for example by
working from existing platforms and/or using long reach equipment or valves
with extended operating spindles:
Prevent falls of people and
objects by carrying out a risk assessment and taking measures to prevent so far
as is reasonably practicable people or objects falling. This might include doing the work safely from
an existing work place or choosing the right work equipment to prevent falls;
Mitigate the consequences of a fall by minimizing the distance and
choosing suitable fall arrest equipment;
Give collective protective measures (e.g. guardrails, nets, airbags)
precedence over personal protective measures like a safety harness.
The risk assessment should
The people (fitness e.g. injuries which could affect ability to climb,
scared of heights, susceptible to epileptic fits or other special
The task and activity involved;
The equipment to be used (e.g. ladders, scaffolds) including erection
The location (e.g. near or over water, proximity to roads, overhead
power lines, confined spaces, process vessels, steam vents, explosion vents and
The environment, poor conditions and slippery surfaces (e.g. weather
temperature both hot and cold, wind);
Application of safe procedures;
The affect on pedestrian access, rights of way, falling objects;
Emergency arrangements and rescue plan.
In general measures have to be taken where a person
could fall a distance liable to cause injury.
This is often considered to be about 2m or more. However many injuries also occur when a
person falls less than 2m. If, therefore, there are factors which make the risk
of injury more likely, precautions will be needed if a fall of less than 2m is
possible (e.g. working near a traffic route or above a fragile, sharp or
are three main ways of controlling the risk of people falling that must be
considered in the order listed:
Provision of edge protection;
Use of safety harnesses;
Maintaining a safe distance (3 metres minimum) by means of a physical
barrier (a painted line or bunting is not acceptable), from the edge, gaps or a
fragile or dangerous surface of flat roofs or slightly inward sloping roofs.
edge protection is provided it must extend at least 950mm above the working
are a number of ways of mitigating the effect of a fall which include
minimizing the distance which a person call fall, the use of airbags, safety
nets and fall arrest devices which slow down or arrest the decent.
risk of objects falling onto persons may be controlled by:
Providing a barrier, e.g. a toe board, or brick net guard, to prevent
items from slipping or being knocked off the edge of a structure;
Securing objects to the structure or lifting equipment, e.g. lashing of
Danger zones should be clearly marked with suitable safety signs,
indicating that access is restricted to essential personnel and that hard hats
must be worn.
All objects should be conveyed mechanically or manually both
horizontally and vertically, not thrown.
Scaffold poles and planks should be conveyed vertically either attached
to a rope or by mechanical means to minimize the risk of falling objects.
Only those competent to do so, must build structures. They need to have sufficient knowledge,
understanding of the risks and precautions and experience in the
erection/dismantling of the structure.
The skills, knowledge and experience required with depend upon the
nature of the structure concerned and the intended use(s).
general, greater care will be required in the case of structures that will
support people than those that support only material.
range of access equipment is available.
There are certain considerations that apply to all types of work at
height equipment as follows:
Where equipment is hired it must be fit for purpose. Where contractors are used they must be
competent and there must be an appropriate exchange of information about the
All equipment must be properly maintained and regularly inspected.
Anybody who is expected to use access equipment must be trained and
competent to do so. Competence is a
combination of appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge, training and
experience, which collectively enables a person to undertake the task safely
and detect any potential risks, defects in the equipment and recognise any
implications for health and safety.
Precautions must be taken to prevent the fall of objects or persons.
height of any working platform, etc. must not normally be increased by placing
ladders on it, and never when there is a risk of falling off the edge. Build another platform or use alternative
means of access
following diagram should be used to help make decisions on working at height.
Part 2: Use of Ladders Stepladders and Trestles.
stepladders and trestles should be manufactured to appropriate standards as
Timber – BS1129 Kite marked Class I: Industrial
fibre and aluminium – BS EN 131 Kite marked Industrial;
Aluminium – BS 2037; 1994
Kite marked Class I: Industrial S7377: 1994
equipment must comply with food safety and hygiene requirements with no timber
in sugar areas. Ladders for electrical
work should be non conductive. Aluminium
access equipment may only be used in a zoned area in accordance with corporate
procedures under the DSEAR regulations.
ladders, stepladders and trestles must be:
Stored and handled with care to prevent damage and deterioration.
Subject to a programme of regular inspection (there should be a marking,
coding or tagging system to confirm that the inspection has taken place).
Checked by the user before use.
Taken out of use if damaged – and destroyed or repaired.
person using ladders, stepladders or trestles must be competent and follow
Company safety rules.
Ladders are best only used as a means of access to
a workplace. They should only be used at
a place of work for low risk tasks of short duration. Low risk
means that it is not more than 6 metres high, a secure handhold is available
all the time, the work involved is of light/minor nature which does not produce
significant sideways or outward (for leaning ladders) forces on the equipment.
should not be used if it is reasonably practicable to use a safer alternative
(scaffold, MEWP, tower scaffold or in permanent cases a staircase).
using a ladder make sure that:
The ladder is angled to minimise the risk of slipping outwards. As a rule of thumb the ladder needs to be
‘one metre out for every four metres up’.
(Note: rungs are about a 1/3 metre apart).
The top of the ladder rest against a solid surface. Ladders should not
rest on fragile or other insecure materials such as cement sheet, or plastic
guttering. If necessary use a stay or
standoff resting on a firm surface nearby.
Both feet of the ladder are on a firm, level footing (not house bricks
or similar) with rungs horizontal and non-slip.
All ladders should be secured from falling. This will usually be by fixing at the top, or
sometimes the base.
If the ladder cannot be fixed, a second person foots the ladder while it
is being used (this also applies while the ladder is being fixed).
The ladder extends a sufficient height (about 1m) above any landing place
where people will get on and off – unless some other adequate handhold is
Where ladders are used in a run measuring a vertical distance of more
than 9m, suitable landing areas or platforms are provided.
Users face the ladder at all times whilst climbing or descending and
keep their body centred between the stiles.
Users always maintain ‘3 point contact’ i.e. tow hands, one foot or two
feet one hand when ascending or descending.
Only one person at a time to climb or work from a ladder.
It is kept away from overhead cables and similar hazards.
Stepladders provide a free-standing means of
access, but they require careful use.
They are not designed for any degree of side loading and are relatively
easily overturned. Avoid over-reaching. People have been killed getting down from
workplaces such as loft spaces when they have stepped onto the top stop of a
stepladder that has then overturned. The
top step of a stepladder should not be worked from unless it has been designed
for this purpose. Stepladders should b e fitted with a loop top handrail or
other equally effective handrail.
The small platform fitted at the top of many
stepladders is designed to support tools, paint pots etc., and should not be
used as a working place. However some stepladders have been designed with
larger lower platforms specially designed for standing on with adequate
Where practical steel or aluminium stepladders
fitted with secure full-length handrails and a top platform with handrails on
three sides should be used. These are
usually fitted with locking wheels to move them easily and then secure in
position when in use.
When using a stepladder make
It is on a secure surface, and with due regard to ensuring stability at
It is long enough for the work in question
There is enough space to open them out fully.
They are kept away from overhead cables and similar hazards.
Platforms based on trestles should be fully
boarded, adequately supported (at least one support per 1.5 metre of board for
standard scaffold boards) and provided with standard edge protection where a
person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. This involves handrails, intermediate rails
and toe boards.
When using a trestle make sure that:
It is on a secure surface, and with due regard to ensuring stability at
It is kept away from overhead cables and similar hazards.
Any work platform is long enough to work without overreaching.
(usually aluminium) scaffold towers can be erected quickly and can give good
safe access. However they are involved in numerous accidents each year. These accidents usually happen because the tower
has either not be erected properly or had not been used properly.
scaffolds must only be erected by people who are trained and competent to do
so, as set out by PASMA or their equivalent.
Scaffolds should be used within their designed safe operating limits. As with scaffolding in general, Platforms
should be fully boarded out and fitted with edge protection (guardrails,
intermediate rails and toe boards).
There must be a safe means of access to the working platform and the scaffold
inspected before use.
scaffolds are often made of lightweight materials and care is needed to ensure
that the scaffold remains stable while in use.
manufacturers of aluminium towers recommend a maximum height, shortest base
3:1 if the tower is to be used outside; increasing to
3:5:1 if the tower is used inside.
The use of outriggers to
extend the base minimum dimension can allow an increase in height provided the
formula of 3:1 or 3:5:1 is followed.
practicable the tower should be secured to the structure being worked on. This is essential for heavy work such as grit
blasting and water jetting, or where high wind loadings on the tower can be
the manufacturers instructions for erection, used and dismantling. Have a copy of the instruction manual
available – if the scaffold has been hired, the hirer ought to provide this
muse be inspect as for a normal scaffold
The tower is vertical and the legs rest properly on firm, level ground
Any wheels and outriggers are locked – base plates provide greater
stability if the tower does not have to be moved.
With mobile tower scaffolds,
The wheels are firmly fixed to the base of the uprights so that they
cannot fall out when the scaffold is being moved.
The scaffold is never moved with anyone on the working platform
Check that there are no power lines or overhead obstructions in the way
The tower is only moved by pushing at the base and check there are not
holes or dips in the ground
There is a safe way to get to and from the work platform for example,
internal ladders. Climbing up the outside of the tower may pull it over
Ladders are never place on tower scaffold working platforms in order to
increase the height which can be reached or apply other horizontal loads which
could tilt the tower.
Edge protection, (guard rails and intermediate rails or other suitable
barriers and toe boards) are provided at platforms
Guard rails are provided on any intermediate platforms and also toe
boards where these platforms are being used as working platforms or for storing
The tower is rigidly tied to the structure it is serving or provide
other additional support if,
The tower is sheeted
It is likely to be exposed to strong winds
It is used for carrying out grit blasting or water jetting
Heavy materials are lifted up the outside o the tower or the tower base
is too small to ensure stability of the height of the platform
If ties are needed, check that they are put in place as required when
the scaffold is erected. Do not fix ties
to the centres of the walled aluminium tubes.
Make sure the ties are checked from time to time and that necessary ties
are kept in place when the scaffold is dismantled.
The working platform is not overloaded.
elevating work platforms shall be used only after a suitable and a competent
person has completed a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
Only those trained to IPAF
standards and holding a PAL (Powered access Licence) card or equivalent, for
the type of MEWP being used shall be permitted to operate a MEWP.
in use there shall be a designated supervisor to ensure a safe system of work
is adhered to:
A harness or fall arrest system shall be used.
Ground stability shall be assessed and regularly checked
An emergency rescue plan shall be in place
The platform shall be suitable guarding and edge protection
When in use, the platform shall be subject to a daily inspection
check. This includes a daily check of
tyre pressures, (when pneumatic tyres are fitted), as the stability of MEWPs is
highly dependent on correct tyre pressures in these cases
Ensure the work area is cordoned off by, for example, using cones and
warning signs. If there are other vehicles around guidance should be obtained
from the Site Safety Coordinator.
Enter and leave the platform in the fully lowered position using the
steps or walkway provided.
Check for appropriate safety harness lanyards that are attached to
secure anchorages inside the cage. Safety devices must never be overridden or
Ensure controls are engaged gently and smoothly
Check for obstructions or people before raising or lowering the platform
Ensure that materials and/or tools are not leant against the outside of
Ensure the MEWP is never used a s a jack prop or tie to support other
structures or machines
Ensure it is not used as a crane or for suspending loads beneath the
Check that guardrails, ladders or staging are not used to extend the
reach for any purpose.
Check that hoses and cable are not left hanging free without proper
The machine must never be used to tow other vehicles unless it is
properly designed and equipped to do so
Ensure that self propelled MEWPs are not towed as this can cause serious
It is only permitted to travel with the platform of a MEWP occupied when
the machine has been specifically designed for this purpose. The manufacturers instructions must be
Working from or moving a MEWP in the vicinity of overhead high voltage
lines, or other overhead lines or cables can be extremely dangerous and
essential precautions must be taken.
See Separate guidance document: ‘Standard For The Erection & Dismantling
Scaffolds must be erected in
accordance with BS5973 (Code of Practice of Access and Working Scaffolds and
Special Scaffold Structures in Steel) BS 5974 (Code of Practice of temporarily
installed suspended scaffolds and access equipment) NASC Note SG4, (The Use of
Fall Arrest Equipment whilst Erecting Altering and Dismantling Scaffolding) and
HSE’s Guidance on the Work at Height Regulations
must only be erected or modified by people who are trained and competent to do
so. Scaffolding should be constructed in
accordance with recognised standards from components which are of adequate
design and strength and which are inspected at regular intervals. The scaffolding itself should be inspected by
a competent person
Before it is used for the first time, once constructed or substantially
After severe weather conditions or any other event which might have
jeopardised its strength or stability
In any case within a seven day period
These inspections must
There is a plan for the scaffold with a copy available on site
It is based on a firm, level foundation.
The ground or foundation should be capable of supporting the weight of
the scaffold and any loads likely to be placed on it. Watch out of voids such as basements of
drains, or patches of soft ground, which could collapse when loaded. Provide extra support as necessary.
Standard (uprights) are resting on suitable base place and (where the
scaffolding is not on hard standing) timer sole boards. Bricks, blocks and other building materials
should not be used as packing.
It is capable of supporting loads likely to be placed on it. Scaffolds
are not usually designed to support heavy loads on their working
platforms. If intending to load out
platforms, tell whoever is providing the scaffold – a special design might be
Where there is a sheeting or some other feature which will increase the
wind loading of the scaffold, that has this been allowed for in the design.
The uprights are vertical and the horizontals are horizontal
The uprights are close enough together and the spacing is consistent.
(Note: the permissible width of bays will vary with the operations for which
the scaffolding in intended. The greater
the loading, the closer the uprights will need to be)
It is braced and tied into a permanent structure or otherwise
stabilised. Rakers only provide
stability when they are braced and footed adequately, Single tube rakers alone
do not usually provide this and need to be braced to prevent buckling. Put ties in place as the scaffold is erected.
Only remove them in stages as it is removed.
If a tie is removed to allow work to proceed, and equivalent tie should
be provided nearby to maintain stability.
Working platforms are properly supported (each board resting on at least
three supports – not board should overhand the last support by a distance
greater than three times its thickness) fully boards out (not gaps for people
or materials to fall through) and wide enough to allow safe access and the safe
movements of materials.
Guardrails, intermediate rails (or equivalent Safeguards) and toe boards
are fitted to all working platforms to prevent people and materials falling.
There is safe ladder or other access onto the work platforms. Long tasks or where there is significant
movement of material should be done using a staircase.
There are safe arrangements for the raising and lowering of materials
Scaffolds have hi-visibility sleeves (e.g. red and white bands at the
corners at ground floor level or as appropriate
Incomplete sections of the scaffold are marked with suitable warning
When a scaffold is not a in sue it is marked with appropriate warning
signs (in compliance with Safety Signs and Signals Regulations) and delineated
by physical means
Routine access to a roof
which is inherently safe, because it has fixed edge protection (minimum hand
rail, intermediate rail and toeboard) may be undertaken using a written safe
system of work. This would be included
in a notice at the access point.
Where the work involves, for
example the roof structures, roof covering or handrails or in any way affects
the inherent safety of the roof, a valid Roof Work Permit will be required.
All other roof work, not covered by the above,
would only be done under the terms of a valid Roof Work Permit
A roof is defined as the top
covering of a building or structure or part of such building or structure (e.g. roof of a single storey extension to a
building) and excludes terraces and balconies that have been designed as a
place of work with, for example, fixed parapet walls and handrails.
A fragile surface is defined as a surface
which would be liable to fail if any foreseeable loading were to be applied to
on roofs and/or close to fragile surfaces is always potentially hazardous. The principle danger is that of failing,
typically from the edge of the roof, but also from ladders or other means of
getting to the place where work is to be done and through openings, roof lights
and fragile or corroded roofing materials.
In view of the hazards involved with roof work:
Careful planning is essential
Suitable precautions must be taken at all stages of the work
Roof work must only be done by people who are trained and competent to
do it safely – without risk to themselves or to any one else
The design of new structures should include the
provision of a safe means of access to the roof e.g. from an internal
staircase. Wherever possible, features
that will help work to be done safely should be incorporated in the structure,
e.g. walkways across roofs, anchorages for safety harnesses and lines permanent
Roof work is potentially very
dangerous work that requires the closest attention to detail at all times. To enable risks to be controlled effectively
there should be a job-specific safe systems of work in writing, agreed and understood
by all parties, before work starts.
supervision is required to ensure that the agreed systems of work are followed
in practice. There should also be a
system to allow necessary changes to be made and confirmed. The safe system of work should be clear,
concise and include simple sketches where necessary to ensure safety.
roof coverings may appear to be strong enough to support a person’s weight but
they often cannot carry the concentrated load of someone walking on the
covering or stumbling and falling.
types of single thickness asbestos sheeting are liable to shatter without
warning and are likely to become even more brittle with age. Other potentially fragile materials include
wired glass; plastic sheeting and corrugated steel sheeting.
that might normally be recognised as fragile can be concealed beneath dirt,
paint, rust, sprayed coatings or other substances.
where the main roof structure is not fragile, parts of the roof, such as a roof
lights may well be and the appropriate precautions should be taken.
Accident prevention is based
on the following:
Identification of potentially fragile materials before commencing work
and making where necessary
Awareness of the hazard by those planning and performing operations
which involve work on or access across fragile materials
The provision of use of a sufficient number of crawling boards,
lightweight staging etc, so that it is never necessary for the weight of the
people (and of their tools/materials) to be applied directly to the roof.
Use of safety harnesses attached to suitable anchorages (where
some cases, it will be both possible and preferable to do the work by means of
other than working on or from the fragile roof itself e.g. by using tower
scaffolds or mobile access platforms. It should be stressed that on a fragile
roof, it is no safer to walk along the line of the sheeting bolts (i.e. follow
the purlins) than it is to work of the other parts. Where access is needed on a
regular basis, permanent walkways should be provided.
must be carried by specialists who are appropriately trained – e.g. trained to
the requirements of ATLAS, (Association of Technical, Lightening Access
Specialist) – formerly Master Federation of Steeplejacks and Lightening
Engineers. Information is available in the recommended safe working methods for
the Steeplejack industry, published in 1989.
ATLAS now publishes this.
this they require specialist skills and equipment. Registered steeplejack
labour only may be used for all aspects of steeplejack work. By this means only can it be assumed
necessary experience and skill are available to undertake the job in hand. All
grades of steeplejacks are defined in the industry “Working Rule Agreement” and
these skills are incorporated into the Construction Industry Steeplejacks and
Lightning Conductor Fitter Record Scheme” which provides for registration of
all grades of steeplejack operatives and defines their area of skills and
is key to a steeplejack operative because that often concerns him for more than
50% of his working day. Usually access for the steeplejack cannot, by other
means, be provided for them. More often than not they, themselves arrange to
ASCEND or DECEND to a position which is inaccessible
access can also be permanent access equipment provided during an/or after
construction of the structure such as fixed ladders, inserts, gantries, lifts,
hand and foot irons plus cradle and access rails. All are purpose made and
designed for the job involved. This access can also be by all types of
mechanical and manual man riding equipment such as winches, hoists, and cradles
or bosuns chairs.
All rope access work may only be done by a
company with IRATA membership, using workers in possession of a current IRATA
certificate or equivalent.
involved in rope access operations should familiarise themselves with BS
7985:2002 ‘The use of rope access methods for industrial purposes’. The
Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) has advice and training
rope access is considered, as with all work at height, the safest means of
access should always be the first consideration. Such as doing the work from inside a
building, using scaffold or MEWPS.
access should only be used within a defined safe system of work. The system should be specify rescue
arrangements, selection of correct equipment selection of the people with the
necessary level of competence and arrangements for communications and control
of the work
All operatives must be
Properly inspect access equipment before every use
Understand all risks arising from the access method and work task
Use all access techniques required by a particular worksite
equipment should be appropriate to its application. Most rope access equipment carries a CE
mark. All access equipment should be
supplied with a certificate of conformity, giving the specifications and
performance characteristics where appropriate.
It there is any doubt as to the suitability of equipment, obtain advise
from a competent supplier.
should be inspected before each use and examined thoroughly by a competent
person in accordance with a specified schedule, normally at intervals no
greater than 6 months.
work should be managed by ensuring:
Operatives will always be attached to at least two independently
anchored safety systems
Connections with the rope access system are in an area where there is no
risk of a fall from a height, unless there is a protection by other means
Exclusion zones are established as appropriate. This may require zones at locations other
than top and bottom of the rope access work
An efficient communications systems should be established, e.g. mobile
phone, radio whistle etc
All practical measure should be taken to avoid injury-causing impact
with the structure or obstructions
Operatives should be properly dress and equipped, appropriate to the
work situations and conditions
results of thorough inspections should be recorded. Copies should be available on site when
specialist contractors are used. Rope
access equipment is classified as lifting equipment under the requirements of
addition to general controls for rope access, there sill be specific
considerations such as:
Type of access method, e.g. decent ascent, traversing suspension, aide
Ease of anchoring
Ease of access to and egress from work position
Objective hazards during the work e.g. wind, sun rain (especially wind)
Dangers to third parties
level of skill required of operatives and the level of necessary supervision
will be indicated by these factors
good practice and part of the WAH regulations that collective protection
measure such as handrails, safety nets and airbags should have priority over
individual protections measures such as safety harnesses and lanyards.
equipment should be regularly inspected and properly maintained. Checks should be make by the users each time
they are used or on a daily basis for collective measures like airbags. All equipment should be subject to detailed
inspections at suitable frequencies of about 6 months with interim inspections
if they are used in arduous conditions.
Safety harnesses and lanyards need special care and more detail is given
nest are widely used to arrest falls of people, tools and materials from height
but competent installation is essential. The correct tensioning of the next is
important and normally specialist companies are available to fit nets. Nets are used for roofing work and for some
refurbishment work. Nets, however, have a limited application since they are
not suitable for in low-level construction where there is insufficient
clearance below the net to allow it to deflect the required distance after
impact. Safety nets should be: –
Positioned, where possible, so that people will not fall more than 2
metres, hit the ground or other obstructions
Installed as close as possible beneath the roof surface
Securely attached and able to withstand a person falling onto them
Installed and maintained by competent personnel
nets are used for falls greater than 2 m (max 6m or 3m within 2m of supporting
edge of the net) they should have: –
An area greater that 35m2
A minimum side length (width) greater than 5m
Maximum supporting space 2.5m
An individual anchor point capacity of 6 kn applied at 45degrees to he
horizontal and sufficient strength over combined anchor point
Have adequate clearance below to allow the net to perform satisfactorily
nets should be manufactured to EN 1263 Part 1 and should be erected to EN1263
Part II standards. BS8093 also give much information on the installation and
use of safety nets.
Airbags are used when it is
either not possible or practical to use safety nets.
reputable suppliers should be employed for the provision of air bags
air bags are used, it is important to ensure that the bags are of sufficient
strength and the air pressure high enough to ensure that any falling person
does not make contact with the ground
Providing a safe place of
work and system of work to prevent falls should always be the first
consideration. However, there may be
circumstances in which is it not practicable for all or any of the requirements
for guardrails etc to be provided (for example, where guard rails are taken
down for short periods to land materials).
Where people may still approached an open edge from which they would be
liable to fall a distance which may cause injury, other forms of protection
will be needed. Inc some cases a
suitably attaché harness and line could allow safe working.
When using harness and
A harness will not prevent a fall – it can only minimise the risk of
injury if there is a fall. The shock
load to the body when the line goes tight or when they strike against parts of
the structure during the fall may injure the person who falls. A shock absorber fitted to the harness
lanyards can reduce the risk of injury from shock loads
Allow for a free fall distance of no more than 2m
Consider how to recover anyone who does fall
Anyone who needs to attach him or herself should be able to do so from a
safe position. They need to be able to
attaché themselves before they move into a position where they relying on the
protection provided by the harness.
The harness lanyard should be attached above the wearer where
possible. Using running lines or inertia
reels can provide extra free movement.
Any attachment point must be capable of withstanding the shock load in
the event of a fall – expert advice may be needed.
Installation of equipment to which harnesses will be fixed must be
supervised by a suitably qualified person and make sure everyone who uses a
harness knows how to check, wear and adjust it before use and how to connect
themselves to the structure or safety line as appropriate.
A regime for the inspection
of harnesses and lanyards should be established. The regime should include: –
The harness and lanyards to be inspected (including their unique identification)
The frequency and type of inspection (pre-use checks, detailed
inspection and, where appropriate, interim inspection)
Designated competent persons to carry out the inspections
Action to be take on finding defective harnesses and lanyards
Means of recording the inspections
Training of users and a means of monitoring the inspection regime to
verify inspections are carried out correctly
It is essential that the
person carrying out any inspection is sufficiently independent and impartial to
allow them to make objective decisions and has appropriate and genuine
authority to discard defective lanyards.
This does not mean that competent persons must necessarily be employed
from an external company, although many manufacturers and/or suppliers offer inspection
services and training in the inspection of their products.
Additional harnesses and
lanyards will be required to use as replacements, in the event that defective
lanyards have to be taken out of use.
Harnesses and Lanyards should
be subject to pre-use check and detailed inspections and (as appropriate)
interim inspections. Competent persons must carry these out, to identify
defects or damage that may affect safety
These checks are essential and should be carried out each time, before
the lanyard is used.
Pre-use checks should be tactile and visual. The who lanyard should be subject to the
check, by passing it slowly through the hands (e.g. to detect small cuts of 1mm
in the edges, softening or hardening of fibres, ingress of contaminants). A visual check should be undertaken in good
light and will normally take a few minutes.
These more formal, in-depth inspections should be carried out
periodically at minimum intervals specified in the inspection regime. It is recommended that there is a detailed
inspection atleast every six months.
For frequently used lanyards it is suggested that this is increased to
at least every three months, particularly when the equipment is used in arduous
environments (e.g. demolition, steel erection, scaffolding MEWPs)