The Myths Behind Working at Height

What is working at height myth and what is fact?

When it comes to working at height there seems to be a lot of misconception. Here is some information which is provided by the HSE on common working at height myths.

I inspected my PPE last week, it should be fine now

You should inspect your PPE before every job. Check for damage or irregularities before working every time you use it.  Although best practice says that PPE only needs to be inspected every 6 months you still need to check if it needs replacing every time it is used.

Are ladders and stepladders allowed?

Working at HeightSome workers believe that the HSE has banned using all ladders on a construction site. This isn’t the case. The use of step-ladders and ladders are very practical when used properly. If the task is a situation in which other work equipment isn’t suitable you may use a ladder. Situations may include; low risk and short duration tasks or when the working environment cannot be adjusted to support any other work equipment.

It’s a quick job, I don’t need any PPE

Even if it is a quick job you still need to follow working at height requirements. Not using fall protection equipment on a quick job would be the same not wearing a seatbelt on a quick car journey. Whether a job is five minutes or an hour, it still requires a full assessment before working.

Can you use ladders to access scaffolding?

You can only do this if you are using the appropriate equipment. A suitable grade of an industrial ladder is required, it needs to be secure and properly inspected. You must ensure that the ladder extends at least one metre above your landing point so that you can easily step off it.

Does the two feet and one hand rule apply when you are climbing a stepladder?

Ladder Safety

When working on a step ladder you may need to have both hands free to conduct your work. It is important to retain three points of contact on the ladder (it doesn’t have to be your hand). You can use your feet, knees, chest or legs to help stay stable on the ladder. Make sure you leave your hand free when you are climbing up[ and down the ladder.

Do I need a ladder qualification to use one?

Working At Height

Although a ladder qualification is beneficial this isn’t the case. It is important to be competent in using a ladder properly but you do not need a formal qualification. Training on a ladder can be conducted by a competent supervisor on the job, but classroom training is highly beneficial.

3B Training provides the Safe Use of Ladders & Step Ladders course as an open course nationwide. Take a look at our upcoming course dates here.

Is working on a staircase classed as working at height?

If you are working on a permanent built-in staircase, you are not working at height.

I don’t need fall protection if I’m only a metre off the ground

The majority of working at height accidents come from low heights. If you can fall from any distance you are working at height. You can still fall so, therefore, you must consider fall protection.

Fall protection is too expensive for smaller businesses

Although it costs money to buy a proper fall protection system, can you put a price on someone getting injured or even killed from a fall from height? Then you have to consider the cost of bad press for your business and potential fines from the HSE.

Fall Protection: What PPE is right for me?

When you are working at height, you must choose the correct PPE and understand why you are choosing it. Find out more here.

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