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.
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 on or near water.
Regulation 35 of the The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 require employers engaged in construction work to take all reasonably practical measures to prevent persons falling into water and drowning.
This could mean, as part of your risk assessments, method statements and emergency planning that a safety and rescue team including a rescue boat may be required to ensure you fulfill your obligations as an employer.
Trips, slips and falls into the water from the working environment.
Adverse weather is also a factor that can increase the danger, and work conditions can change quickly. Whether or not a person is injured by falling in the water, there is an immediate risk of drowning and/or being carried away by water currents.
Sound precautions must be taken, firstly to prevent persons entering the water and, secondly, if the worst happens, to ensure that they will float and are rescued in the shortest possible time.
When working on or near water consideration must also be given to the health implications of falls into the water. The water may possibly be polluted, for example when working near sewage discharge points, and there is the ever-present risk of contracting leptospirosis (or Weil’s disease) from water contaminated by rat urine.
Water Safety Briefings
All staff should have an induction and updates as required in water safety. Platforms, edges, gangways etc. and other reasonably practicable fixed edge protection must be provided to prevent people falling into water. Where edge barriers are not reasonably practicable at exposed edges, e.g... quay edges, appropriate warning signs and/or edge markings should be displayed to highlight the danger.
Life jackets to be worn (and worn correctly) by staff working near to exposed edges, or those deemed at risk of a fall into water.
A trained and equipped rescue and safety team, including a boat is the fastest and safest way to recover a worker after a fall into water. Due to other circumstances they may not be able to recover themselves.
At Red Kite we can help with your risk assessments, method statements and also working with our selected industry partners provide the specialist water 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 DEFRA standards for water/flood 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.
We have a code of practice that a company or organisation acting responsibly will review so they can implement safety strategies such as rescue boats, safety rails, harnesses etc... to fulfill their health and safety obligations with regards to their workers safety whilst working on, above or near water. Contact Us for a copy.