As 2017 comes to an end, we enter into party season. Don't get me wrong, any excuse to kick back and have a bit of shindig and I am in!
The reality is, that it does lead to a significant spike in accidents around this time of year.
Working at heights related injuries have caused more than 2000 compensation claims in the last so far, and it is safe to say that will increase before the year is over. As court cases are fought over and claims disputed, the only real winners are the lawyers. Nobody wants to fall from height and hurt themselves, and no employer ever wants to be sued in the line of business. More detail about some of the claims in progress found here at the Workcover Qld website.
So what can we do about it?
That is a game of two halves. All PCBU's (persons conducting business undertakings) have an obligation. Let's look at this from the perspective of the Employer and then the Employee.
- Is what you are asking your staff to do a reasonable request?
- Have you given them the correct height safety training?
- Have you given them the correct equipment to complete the work?
- Have you developed a site-specific Safe Work Method Statement and consulted your workers in the process (generic work methods written by the administrator don't cut it!)
- Do you have a rescue plan, with a rescue kit and people actually trained how use it?
Unless you can say YES to all of these you are setting your team up for an accident and setting yourself up to thoroughly lose the ensuing compensation claim against you. Take some action today! The following is an extract from a Workcover Queensland Article about a recent fall from heights claim-
“Neither apprentice received a site induction nor work at heights training and previously installed edge protection had been removed from the roof,”Dr Blackwood said.
“The site supervisor also had an obligation to keep these two young workers safe which he failed to do.
“It is paramount that appropriate training, supervision and risk controls are put into place for all workers, but it’s especially important for young people, who often put themselves at greater risk in order to make a good impression.”
Follow this link to see a useful article on your obligations working safely at heights in the construction industry Click Here
- Are you competent and trained to perform the work in the location you are being asked to? This is not about your skills as a tradesperson, but your skills in preventing injury from falls.
- Have you received Working Safely at Heights training from a quality training provider? This is not a 2-hour course in putting a harness on, a real course on the core principles and techniques for working at height
- Have you been consulted in the development of the safe work method statement? It's a legal contract. You sign it, you are obliged to do it!
- Have you been issued with the correct height safety equipment to complete your task safely?
- Is the equipment inspected and in-date?
- Can you be rescued and can you rescue yourteammates? It feels good to know you can
Again, if the answer is NO to any of these questions or you are uncertain, then it may be time to lift your own game around height safety.
Rope Access & Rescue are here to provide support for all your working at height requirements. Talk to us about how we can help develop skills through our accredited training courses or Upgrade your gear from our specialist showroom