An overhaul of guidance on working at height is being launched today (28 January 2014), as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to abolish or improve outdated, burdensome or over-complicated regulations which waste businesses’ time and money.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 – and debunking common myths that can confuse and mislead employers.
Altogether, more than 3,000 regulations have been identified for scrapping or improving through the Red Tape Challenge – which asks businesses and the public themselves to identify the rules that hold them back
Health and Safety Minister Mike Penning said:
As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, it’s vital that businesses are not bogged down in complicated red tape and instead have useable advice about protecting their workers.
As a former fireman, I know that the 10 million people who are working at height in this country face risks in their job. But I’m also clear that managing these risks can be done sensibly, by giving simple and clear advice and tackling the myths that can confuse 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 need to ensure people understand what the law requires was identified in the independent review of health and safety regulation undertaken by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, and this proposal has been developed through the Red Tape Challenge.
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
- 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.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through:
- information and advice
- promoting training
- new or revised regulations and codes of practice
- working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) set out the law as it applies in Great Britain. The regulations have not changed.
Working at Height a Brief Guide