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Safe Working at Height by Scott Goggins, KTL SHEQ Advisor.

Work related deaths

In 2021/2022

  • UK - there were 123 fatalities, 29 were due to a fall from height – the biggest killer.

  • Ireland - there were 38 fatalities with 10 a result of a fall from height.

Working at height is defined as ‘any place where a fall from could result in injury’. This includes working beside open excavations, use of scaffolding and ladders etc.

It is essential that all work at height is properly planned, risk assessed, supervised, and carried out by competent people with the required skills and experience.

Before working at height work, please be mindful of these simple steps:

Avoid work at height where it's reasonably practicable to do so

Take precaution where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment

Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated.

For each step, always consider measures that protect everyone at risk (collective protection) before measures that only protect the individual (personal protection).

Collective protection is equipment that does not require the person working at height to act for it to be effective. Examples are permanent or temporary guardrails, scissor lifts and tower scaffolds.

Personal protection is equipment that requires the individual to act for it to be effective. An example is putting on a safety harness correctly and connecting it, with an energy-absorbing lanyard, to a suitable anchor point.

For more information go to:

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