As part of our “Refocus on Safety” campaign, CIF Health & Safety Executive, John Egan, provides an update on safety at heights.
Working at Height continues to be the greatest causal factor for fatalities and serious injury in construction. 4 of the 5 reported fatalities in construction in 2020 relate to working at height, the other involved machinery.
Many falls occur at relatively low heights, for example, 2 or 3 metres above ground level. According to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), working at height is defined as: “work in any place, including a place at, above or below ground level, where a person could be injured if they fell from that place. Access and egress to a place of work can also be work at height”.
The key messaging from the HSA to ensure safe working at height is as follows:
• Carry out risk assessments for work at height activities and make sure that all work is planned, organised, and carried out by a
• Follow the ‘General Principles of Prevention’ for managing risks from work at height, taking steps to avoid, prevent or reduce
• Chose appropriate work equipment and prioritise collective measures to prevent falls (such as guard rails and working platforms)
before other measures which may only reduce the distance and consequences of a fall (such as nets or airbags) or may only
provide fall-arrest through personal protection equipment.
The CIF is calling for all those engaged in construction activity to undertake risk assessments for work at height activities and to make sure the work is adequately planned and organised to avoid, or at least reduce risks as low as reasonably practicable.
Tadhg Lucey, Director, BAM Contractors has kindly facilitated a video message on safe working at height, which is accessible here: Tadhg Lucey – Safety at Heights
Additionally, James Gorry, renowned health and safety keynote speaker, has shared a video of his experiences, which may be viewed here: Safety at Heights
Please use #CIFSITESAFETY to highlight your safety initiatives on social media and the CIF will endeavour to provide support.
The HSA affords access to a wealth of information on its webpage: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Work_at_Height/#
Some useful tools are as follows:
• Work at Height
• Toolbox Talk on Working at Height
• Using Ladders Safely
• Safe use of Work Platforms-Trestles
• Guide to SHWW General Application Regs, Part 4: Work at Height
• Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds
• CIF Recorded Webinar-Working Safely at Height
• CIF Recorded Webinar-Working Platforms & Access Scaffolds
• CIF Online Course-Safe Working at Height