Working at height by vivi07

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									Working at Height Policy and Guidance 15 February 2006

Working at, and gaining access to height
Contents
Introduction Policy statement Risk assessment Access equipment Definitions References Ladder and stepladder inspection checklist

Introduction
New Regulations have been introduced to curb the very high toll of incident and injury caused during work at height and the use of access equipment such as ladders and tower scaffolds. The prevention of falls is currently a high priority for the Health and Safety Executive.

This guidance covers the activities of working at height and using equipment for gaining access to height. The activities covered span a wide range from putting up displays and Christmas decorations at one extreme, to changing light bulbs in sports halls and other building maintenance, retrieving a football from a roof or using a high ropes walkway at the other. Equipment used may include kick stools, stepladders, ladders, trestles and tower scaffolds, and more specialised equipment for particular jobs.
This guidance is not intended for specialised or professional personnel such as roofing or building contractors. Nor is it intended to be sufficiently broad or detailed to encompass activities such as climbing or abseiling. However, it does relate to day-to-day activities in which any member of staff might be involved. It applies to any activity undertaken by staff within the directorate for Children and Young People, including schools. NB: Chairs should not be used as a means of access to heights or as a working platform. BACK TO TOP

Children and Young People's Services:
Statement of Health and Safety Policy on Working at, and gaining access to height
Mandatory Precautions (based on generic risk assessment)  Working at height should be avoided if practicable – however, it is acknowledged that many situations require staff to work at height. Managers are required to ensure the risks are adequately controlled. In schools, the headteacher has responsibility for this as the local safety coordinator, but the day to day tasks may be delegated to any suitable person who is sufficiently well informed to make decisions and authorised to take action.

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Working at Height Policy and Guidance 15 February 2006

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Staff working at height and using access equipment should be competent. This means that they should be appropriately trained, informed and experienced in the use of any relevant equipment. The health and safety management system must ensure that staff know how to use the equipment safely and how to check that it is in a suitable condition for use. Arrangements must be in place to ensure the equipment is stored properly, is secure and is maintained appropriately. A system for recording periodic inspections must also be in operation. The nature &/or frequency of inspections may be specified by law or in guidance issued by recognised organisations, relevant professional bodies, etc. The Directorate regards guidance from such professional bodies as mandatory and managers must follow that guidance where no other detailed guidance has been produced in house. Where contractors are working on behalf of a premises manager (headteacher, for example) must be sure that the working practices are reasonably safe. BACK TO TOP

Contractors
Part of the assurance premises managers must have can be gained by the use of the Form 13 procedure. This elicits the support of the Property Adviser who has specialist knowledge about construction work. However, for day-to-day supervision, the premises manager should find the HSE booklet Height Safe very helpful as it provides useful, nonspecialist advice. In most circumstances premises managers (including headteachers) should not hire or provide access equipment (ladders, stepladders or any form of scaffolding) on behalf of any contractor. Contractors MUST provide this themselves. If the contractor is not properly equipped to do the job they are engaged to do, they should not be allowed to start work.

Risk Assessment
Refer to existing guidance on the Portal for general advice on risk assessment and for a suitable record form.  Consider the ability, training and experience of the user; has the person been trained to use the access equipment?  Is the person working alone (see Portal for more detailed guidance), or without reasonably close supervision? Is the person comfortable with working at height?  The activity - what tools or other articles will be carried, are materials to be moved, will the person need to lean out or reach up?  The access equipment required – how high does the person need to reach? If there is a risk of a fall from 2 metres or more, particularly if the location or environment (see below) is unfavourable, the school should consider conducting a specific risk assessment for each job detailing the precautions to be taken, the equipment to be used and the times within which the job must be completed. Controls of this nature are known as a “permit to work” and are useful when the probability and/or severity of an incident is high.  The location - near or over water, roads, power lines, vehicular/pedestrian traffic, soft or rough ground, sloping, stepped or slippery surfaces;  The environment - weather, temperature, lighting;  The duration of the work;

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Where the equipment used is a means of access to a working platform, the risk assessment must also include the nature of the platform itself. Is it sufficiently strong and rigid to take the loads imposed (including the person‟s weight and any equipment or materials carried)? Is the risk of falling from the working platform adequately controlled? Enclosure of the working area, fall arrest systems or edge protection must be considered. BACK TO TOP

Access Equipment
Ladders (including stepladders)

Ladders and stepladders are frequently involved in incidents, many involving serious injury and, occasionally, death. Often, a job isn‟t expected to take very long and, as a result, the way the work is to be done is not properly thought through. All too frequently, the job isn‟t planned properly, the ladder is not secured at the top or bottom, or the person climbed the ladder with a load, over-reached or over balanced. Where access to a roof is regularly (say twice a year minimum) required a ladder fixing point can be installed, particularly where more a permanent means of access is not possible or desirable (do not encourage unwanted visitors onto the roof ). Installing a point like this will require a Form 13 to be completed but is not an expensive job. Sometimes „footing‟ a ladder (having someone hold the ladder at the bottom while the other person climbs) is considered an adequate precaution. However, it is very difficult to stop a ladder slipping or moving and it may be almost impossible for the „footer‟ to do anything useful if the need arises. In schools, a number of incidents have resulted in injuries ranging from bangs on the head to major injuries including broken thigh bones and dislocated wrists – and these have come from people putting up Christmas decorations using tables and chairs as the working platform.

Before you use a ladder or a stepladder: THINK       Never use a damaged or defective ladder - report it and dispose of it or destroy it. Do not attempt to repair the ladder. Is the ladder for access only or is it a working platform? Is a ladder the correct piece of equipment for the job or would a working platform such as scaffolding be more suitable? Ensure that the type of ladder is right for the job. Don’t make do! Make sure the equipment is strong enough for the job – check the combined weight of any materials and the person using the ladder and be very sure the ladder will take the weight. Make sure it complies with the British Standard and that the kite mark is still clearly visible.

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Working at Height Policy and Guidance 15 February 2006

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Ensure the ladder is the right length for the job, ie, not too short or too long. Make sure you can maintain a secure handhold while you are working on the ladder. Ensure ladder can be securely fixed at the top and bottom, if possible. If that‟s not possible consider another means of access first. If the job is urgent and of short duration (less than 10 minutes, ensure ladder can be footed by a second person, but only if the ladder length is less than 3 metres. Stand ladder on firm, level base with both stiles on the ground. Ladder should be angled correctly – 4 up, 1 out is the simple reminder.

Before you even start the job make sure the ladder is carried safely with front end above head height. 2 people should carry ladders over 3 metres long; Care and Maintenance Ladders and stepladders must be stored correctly and regularly examined. This must include a visual check before EACH use and a more formal check every 6 months or more. A possible record form is shown below: Also show is a ladder and stepladder inspection checklist Training Training is a legal requirement to ensure employees are competent. Training can be obtained for school caretakers through the schools health and safety consultancy service. Training for other staff can be arranged on request. Remember that training is only part of the recipe for competence - be sure that the trained person is also reliable and responsible and aware of their limitations and the limitations of the equipment they may be using. Guidance for safe erection and use of mobile scaffold towers A mobile scaffold can provide a much more stable working platform at height than a ladder or a stepladder. However, it is still a high risk activity requiring knowledge, skill and care. Any person erecting a tower scaffold MUST have been trained AND assessed. Untrained people MUST NOT erect the equipment. Users must also be briefed on safe practice.

During use ensure:        the safe working load (SWL) is not exceeded – under no circumstances exceed the weight bearing capacity of the equipment ; no one climbs up the outside of the tower – the access ladder should run up the inside of the scaffold; Ensure trap door is covered, filled in or protected by barriers; that it is not used near overhead power lines; the tower is only moved by manual force which should be applied gently at the base and never by someone on the working platform. persons and/or materials ARE REMOVED from the tower before it is moved; erected towers are not left unattended. If this is unavoidable, ensure unauthorised access is prevented. that the height of the tower is never extended by the placing of a ladder or other equipment on the top platform;

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that the ratio between the platform height and the length of the shortest side is no more than 3:1 for outdoor use and 3.5:1 for indoor use unless the manufacturer or supplier states otherwise. If extra height is required, stabilisers or outriggers can be fitted to increase the base dimensions.

Definitions
Working platform: Means any platform used as a place of work or as a means of access to or egress from a place of work. It includes any scaffold, suspended scaffold, cradle, mobile platform, trestle, gangway, gantry and stairway that is used in any of those ways. Competent: In health and safety terms this usually means that a person has the knowledge they need to do their job safely, has experience in doing the work and understands their own limitations. In relation to working at height it means the person knows how to minimise the risk of falling, how to use the equipment available to them and how to determine whether it is suitable or not for the job. It also means that they know how to minimise the risk of injury should they fall from a height and also how to prevent other people from being hurt should something fall from the working platform. Means of access: This is the equipment used to get to the working platform. It must be suitable for the task, sufficiently strong and stable. Furniture is not a means of access and should not be used as such.

References
General guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the new Working at Height Regulations http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/schoolsfall.pdf http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/information.htm HSE Information sheet that covers the use of tower scaffolds HSE Information sheet that covers general access scaffolds and ladders: HSE free leaflets relating to falls at works, including window cleaning and other more specialised activities. The leaflet "Top tips for ladder and stepladder safety" may be useful for any staff who work using such equipment. It is available to download from the HSE website
Executive

HSE Height Safe Leaflet

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Working at Height Policy and Guidance 15 February 2006

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LADDER INSPECTION CHECKLIST
It is recommended that ladders and step ladders are used as little as possible and only when alternative and safer means of access are prohibitively expensive or impractical. To control risks ladders must be routinely inspected and stored properly. A register of inspections must be kept and each ladder or step ladder should be individually identifiable so that inspection details can be kept for easy and specific reference. Faults mean that the equipment must immediately be taken out of use. Few faults can be repaired, and must always be referred to a competent supplier. Most faults will mean that the ladder must be replaced. General Loose steps or rungs (considered loose if they can be moved at all by hand) Loose nails, screws, bolts, or other metal parts Cracked, split, bent (metal ladders) or broken uprights (styles), braces, steps, or rungs Slivers on uprights, rungs, or steps Damaged, worn or missing non-slip bases, including rubber feet and/or hinged stile plugs Paint may cover cracks or other damage and should not be allowed Dirty ladders (both rungs and styles) may be unacceptably slippery Fibre-glass ladders (usually for specialist applications, eg. electrical work) must not be cracked, crazed or unevenly discoloured; the top covering of resin, etc. should not be separated from the base coats. Storage Ladders should not be stored by hanging from one of the styles or from one of the rungs as this can loosen the joints between the rungs and the styles. Stepladders Wobbly (from side strain) Loose or bent hinge spreaders Broken or missing stop on hinge spreaders (sometimes ropes join the two halves of the stepladder and act as a stop - if required, these should be in good condition) Broken, split, or worn steps Loose hinges Loose, broken or missing bracing Extension Ladders Loose, broken, or missing extension locks Defective locks that do not seat properly when the ladder is extended Frayed, damaged or missing rope

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Working at Height Policy and Guidance 15 February 2006

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Sample Access Equipment Maintenance Record Sheet
Equipment ID description Date of check Condition / Action needed Planned review date Signature

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