An overhaul of guidance on working at height has been launched, as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to abolish or improve outdated or over-complicated regulations which waste businesses’ time and money.
More than a million British businesses and 10 million workers are estimated to carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year. Falls are one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury at work.
Now the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has overhauled its guidance for such activity, setting out in clear, simple terms what to do and what not to do in the hope of debunking common myths that can confuse and mislead employers.
Key changes include:
• Providing simple advice about do’s and don’ts when working at height to ensure people are clear on what the law requires
• Busting some of the persistent myths about health and safety law, such as the banning of ladders when they can still be used
• Offering targeted advice to helping business in different sectors manage serious risks sensibly and proportionately
• Helping workers to be clearer about their own responsibilities for working safely.
Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, said: "It’s important to get working at height right. 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.
"The result is advice that employers can count on to help them manage their businesses sensibly and proportionately.”
The new guidance is being backed by business. It was produced with the support of the British Retail Consortium, Small Business Trade Association Forum, Trade Unions and the Access Industry Forum.
Janet Nerenberg, health and safety manager at Warburtons, said: "This revised guidance is most welcome, a good and useful hand-out that we can use in-house to support any training. It is a big improvement on previous information and the images in particular are clear and much improved.”
Commenting on the simplified HSE guidance, Peter Bennett, Chair of The Access Industry Forum, said: "This major overhaul of HSE guidance setting out in clear simple terms what to do and what not to do, can only help advance the height safety agenda."
But he added: "Going forward, the real challenge is to change the thinking and consequent behaviour of not only those who work at height, but also those who are responsible for its planning and implementation."