17 November 2023
The Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) is aware of pressures on supplies of scaffolding as Jersey repairs and recovers following the damage to homes and businesses caused by Storm Ciaran.
As a result of these pressures, HSI has been informed of some work at height activities, particularly roof work, that are being undertaken by dutyholders that, while well-intentioned, are putting the safety of employees and others at undue risk.
All dutyholders are required to conduct work at height within the law, despite any perceived or real time and equipment pressures.
Equipment such as MEWPs are specifically designed to lift people to a position where they can carry out work from the work platform and then return to the starting level. They are not intended to be used to transfer people from one level to another or for people to exit the basket at height.
Exiting the basket at height should be strictly controlled and is only permitted where a rigorous risk assessment carried out as part of planning the job indicates that this is the safest and most effective means of accessing a particular location. The assessment should also examine in detail how fall protection measures are to be maintained for the duration of the task.
Hierarchy of Control
As a reminder:
- so far as is reasonably practicable, work at height should be eliminated
- where elimination is not possible, measures should be taken to prevent falls from height
- where fall prevention is not possible, the consequences of a fall should be minimised
- collective protection measures should always be considered ahead of personal protection measures
All work at height should be appropriately planned, supervised and carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe
- the planning stage should consider the selection of appropriate work equipment, appropriately trained personnel, the working environment as well as the height at which work is being carried out and the nature, frequency and duration of the task(s) at hand
- ‘Appropriate work equipment’ refers to equipment most suitable for the task in consideration of the hierarchy of control and which has been suitably stored, checked and maintained
Safe Systems of Work
From the planning stage a written safe system of work / method statement should be prepared.
- this should be briefed out to the operatives conducting the work and their understanding secured, especially where operatives are non-native English speakers
- the safe system of work / method statement should also define who has the responsibility to supervise the work and the arrangements in place in the event of an emergency