Work at Height and Rope Rescue Services  /

Safe Work at Height and Rescue Services

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 applies to all workplaces and work activities. This sets out the general duties of employers towards their employees and members of the public, and the duties employees have to themselves and to each other. Employers are required to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health safety and welfare at work of their employees, and any other persons who might be affected; provide a safe working environment; health and safety training, instruction and supervision; and any necessary protective clothing and equipment.

                                                                                  This Therefore Applies to Working at Height

Risk Assessments and the Safe Systems of Work

Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out suitable and sufficient assessments of risk to employees and others who might be affected by work activities, and to put in place appropriate risk control measures. This will therefore include the hazards presented by working at height be it on manmade or natural structures.

The Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) 2005 clearly lays out the employers responsibilities for Working at Height. All work at height must be 'properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent persons'.

The first rule of WAH is avoid where possible. Where not possible, systems must be in place to prevent falls using an existing 'safe' place or the right type of equipment to minimise the distance or consequences of a fall. The risk cannot totally be removed.

This could mean, as part of your risk assessments, method statements and emergency planning that education and training, correct PPE and even an on site safety and rescue team may be required to ensure you fulfill your obligations as an employer.

Hazards of Working at Height

Trips, slips and falls over the edge from the working environment.

Adverse weather is also a factor that can increase the danger, and work conditions can change quickly. When working outdoors, employers should take into account projected weather to ensure the employees can still undertake the task safely and without cutting corners.

Sound precautions must be taken, firstly to prevent falls altogether using work restraint methods or finding another 'safer' way of completing the task possibly scaffolding or MEWP's (Employee training is required for these as well).

It is not acceptable to use '999' as your emergency plan. You must have other things in place for an emergency.

Precautionary Solutions

Daily Safety Briefings and Toolbox Talks

All staff should have an induction and updates as required in working at height. Platforms, edges, gangways etc. and other reasonably practicable fixed edge protection must be provided to prevent falls. Where edge barriers are not reasonably practicable at exposed edges, appropriate warning signs and/or edge markings should be displayed to highlight the danger.

Harnesses and Lanyards to be worn (and worn correctly) by all staff working near to exposed edges, or those deemed at risk of a fall.

When there is potential for a fall to occur, employers need (as part of their rescue plan) to provide a pre packed rescue kit to enable colleagues of the fallen person to rescue and recover them. Employees need to be trained in how to use this equipment correctly. Most suppliers of these rescue kits, provide training (at cost) to ensure your employees know what to do in an emergency.

You must ensure the kit is:

  • suitable for the location being used.
  • Contain enough rope to enable a complete lower to the ground level from wherever the faller is.
  • Be easy to use and always ready and at hand. It's no good it being back in the van/portacabin at the wrong end of the site.

Commercial Safety and Rescue Provision

A trained and equipped rescue and safety team,  is the fastest and safest way to recover a worker after a fall. They can be on hand, near where the work is taking place with all the equipment necessary to perform a rescue. In addition, they'll be able to provide first aid and medical care to the casualty.

At Red Kite we can help with your risk assessments, method statements and also provide the specialist safety and rescue provision that you require to ensure you remain compliant under Health and Safety Regulations.

Our Specialist Rescue Unit staff are trained to nationally recognised standards for SWAH and rope rescue and are equipped to deliver this professional service to our customers. In addition, all of our staff are medically trained as first responders or higher grades.

Contact Us for details on how we can help your company.