We must always be mindful of the risks we take working at height

23 Oct 2017

Simon Purcell of Purcell Scaffolding outlines the importance of training and safety standards
Working at height is often said to be one of the most hazardous activities to be conducted on site.

Controls such as scaffolds are often used to minimise the risks when working at height. However, while erecting and dismantling these scaffolds, the scaffold teams themselves are subject to the risks associated with working from height.

In a recent behavioural study of onsite activities the scaffold teams were noted as the only trade that actually looked up a ladder and assessed the task before proceeding up the ladder to the level above. That said, the incoming code of practice for scaffolding is expected to contain increased recommendations for collective means of protection for the scaffold teams other than previously relied on personal measures such as a harness.

According to Michael McDonagh of the HSA: “Employers whose employees work at height are required to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure their employees safety. By law collective protective measures must be given priority over individual protection. Advances in techniques and equipment now allows for this to be done in a practical way when scaffolding.”

Several years ago, Purcell Scaffolding started to carry out annual training with all employee’s using a specialist UK training provider. The aim of this training is to educate the scaffold teams on the use of collective measures such as “scaff step” and others measures contained in the safety guidance NASC SG04:15.

This training has allowed Purcell Scaffolding to maintain the highest standards of safety within our scaffold teams.

Don’t just focus on the dangers associated with working at height this Construction Safety Week, make a long-term change and commit to safety every day.


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