Work at height continues to account for the highest proportion of workplace fatalities despite the 2005 regulations. At present the HSE is in consultation with the various work at height industry bodies to see how the regulations can be improved to help reduce the number of fatal and serious accidents that occur across U.K. business.
Clearly, since 2005 there has been an improvement in industry guidance, equipment design and even training in safe techniques to be used. This move forwards continues across the work at height sector to make compliance with best practice easier for businesses.
We have seen that, for instance, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has introduced its PAL+ training course that covers advanced use of powered access equipment. This is set to become a UKCG mandatory requirement for certain trades from the start of 2013.
PASMA has drafted PAS 250 in collaboration with the BSI to set minimum safety and performance requirements for low-level podium towers. This provides guidance for those selecting, using and supervising the use of podiums.
The Ladder Association has issued new best practice guidance on how to competently inspect and maintain ladder equipment.
Access to training materials is also moving with the times to make the best use of technology and 2012 has seen the release of the first mobile App for work at height covering mobile access towers.
There is also some work underway to look at inspection regimes as the Edge Protection Federation (EPF) is concerned that although scaffolding requires weekly inspection, edge protection is not covered in the same way. The EPF is currently developing a standard checklist and tag system which is likely to be available early in 2013.
It has been recognised that although there are many qualifications available for working at height, none cover all aspects and the industry bodies are working on a pan-industry qualification that will fill this gap. It is expected this will help on construction sites where many different working at height activities take place.
The above will hopefully help to reduce the numbers of falls from height that occur and help to keep your workforce safe where working at height is part of your business.