Working at height has always been one of the most dangerous and risky type of work to carry out, but in some industries it is unavoidable and entirely necessary for getting the job done. With this in mind SAEMA, the Specialist Access Engineering and Maintenance Association, have produced and published three new guidance documents to provide further information on best practice when working at height. The more regulation and documentation we have, the higher the chance we can get those accident rates decreased.
The first of the documents SAEMA has published looks at rescue and planning and the second focuses on how to determine safe loads to comply with European standards, also highlighting the right suspended access equipment which can be used for each load. The third and final document is a guide to using existing building maintenance systems as anchorage points which SAEMA highlight as a real concern.
SAEMA has many member organisations who have designed and built many recognisable structures and landmarks in the UK including The Gherkin in London. The documents are designed to ensure continued work on the same kind of developments can be done with lower risks and ensuring that at the very least, their member organisations are doing all they can to keep accident rates down.
With organisations like SAEMA providing best practice guides in addition to what the HSE provides and what individual construction companies and those working in industries that require working at height are providing, there should be no doubt in how to work safely even when in the riskiest positions.
Working from Height Statistics
Since records have been kept falls from height have consistently been a leading cause of fatality in the workplace and in 2013/14 they account for 29% of all fatal injuries to workers according to RIDDOR. Falls from height also accounted for the second most common cause of major injury and when broken down falls equated to a rate of injuries of 48-77 in 100,000 workers.
Individual employees do have a responsibility to their own safety but employers too have to ensure their workplaces and their equipment are of the right standard to protect their employees. Employees must also be adequately trained for any job they’re expected to do and if an accident does occur and it can be proven that any one of these things wasn’t at the right standard then the injured party is in the position to make a claim for compensation.
It’s always positive to see that organisations such as SAEMA are serious about their commitment to the safety and best practice of their members and their documentation adds to a large body of resources which those in the industry can learn from.