The theme of the first day of Construction Safety Week 2018 is a continuation of efforts for the preceding year by focusing on Working Safely at Heights. In our industry, falls from working at height may result in serious or even fatal accidents. The hazards of working at height are often underestimated but are reflected in the annual accident statistics. Over a five-year term (2011-2015), there were 12 fatalities associated with roof work, of which 10 involved sheeted/cladded roofs, and seven occurred on agricultural buildings, with most involving a fall through fragile roof material.
Before working at height, we must first assess the risks and follow these simple steps:
- Avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so (ie, Do as much work as possible from the ground)
- Where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using a safe system of work, with collective protection prioritised over individual protection
- Select the most suitable work equipment for the job to avoid overload or over-reach when working at height
- Ensure protection for workers and non-workers from falling objects
- Always assume roofing materials are fragile unless confirmed otherwise by a competent person
- Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
- Always consider safe access and egress for workers, including emergency rescue
- Refer to the HSA’s Code of Practice for Safety in Roofwork
For the 2018 campaign, the CIF has partnered with architect Dermot Bannon in recording a video to highlight the consequences of falling from height. This will be released by the CIF on the morning of Monday, 22nd October for viewing by participating companies/ individuals.
Additionally, and mindful of the access and egress to working at height, the CIF has worked with HSS Hire (www. hss.ie) to provide a talk on the practical safety checks and precautions to be undertaken on equipment for ‘safely working at height’, including ladders; this will be accessible for viewing on the CIF webpage at www.cif.ie/safety-week/ videos from Monday, 22nd October. To download the Working Safety at Height poster and Construction Safety Week logo, visit www.cif.ie/safety-week/schedule/