Given that a lot of construction work involves the erection or maintenance of buildings, it is hardly surprising that falls from height are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Overall, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 45 deaths and 3,750 serious injuries resulted from falls from height last year
Suitable Safety Equipment
Construction workers are frequently required to work at height. They may use supported scaffolding, platforms suspended by ropes, hoists of various types and ladders.
It’s important to ensure that these are suitable for the job and are secure.
Scaffolding, for example, needs to be erected professionally and have safeguards to prevent objects falling on people below. Mobile platforms should be securely attached to vehicles while ladders must be of the correct height and adequate for the job. Where necessary, safety harnesses and other protective equipment has to be provided and used.
Workers are protected to some degree by the Work at Height Regulations, which came into force in 2005. These apply to all situations where workers are required to work at height and are intended to prevent this type of accident occurring. Employers have to ensure that the correct equipment is provided and must routinely inspect and maintain it.
Safety Obligations and Responsibilities
Although, as is generally the case, regulations impose certain obligations on employers, all construction workers have a responsibility to help prevent accidents occurring. They have to act sensibly and follow any safety guidelines that are put in place. A fall from height may not only cause injury and loss of earnings, it may also result in no compensation being available if it can be proved that the accident resulted from negligence or a failure to follow guidelines on the part of the worker.
As a construction worker, it’s in your interests to ensure you are properly trained. Your employer should provide health and safety training but you can demonstrate your health and safety awareness through the possession of a CSCS card.
If you work at significant height in your construction job you will need to take the Working at Heights CSCS Test.