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June 15, 2015

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Work at height: Access Industry Forum


Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and injuries. Chris Kendall explains what the Access Industry Forum’s nine member organisations will offer at the AIF stand and the wider show.

All of AIF’s member organisations are standards driven and committed to fostering and supporting codes of good practice; minimum standards for equipment; trained and qualified operatives; and education and information-based activities.

At this year’s Safety & Health Expo, AIF will focus on the need for work at height to be properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people to make sure it is undertaken safely as required by the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR).

PASMA will warn of the dangers of using incomplete and unsafe towers that do not comply with the European tower standard EN 1004. It follows in the wake of HSE’s growing concern about the number of incidents involving the use of substandard, poorly constructed and, in some cases, dangerous towers.

The association will also focus on PAS 250, the specification sponsored by PASMA and developed in conjunction with the British Standards Institution (BSI), which, for the first time, introduces minimum safety and performance criteria for low-level work platforms such as pulpits and podiums – equipment in daily use for cleaning and maintenance.

For its part, the Specialist Access Engineering and Maintenance Association (SAEMA) will feature three new guidance documents to help raise standards in the permanent and temporary façade access industry.

The first covers rescue and planning. The second covers how to determine the necessary loads to comply with the requirements of BS EN 1808 – the European standard that prescribes the manner in which suspended access equipment for cleaning and maintenance should be designed. The third covers issues arising from the use of existing building maintenance units (BMUs) as anchorage points for industrial rope access equipment.

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) will be urging users of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) to keep the use of this equipment safe by ensuring that prestart inspections are completed before commencing any work at height. Via its ‘Spread the load’ campaign, it will also be calling for the proper assessment of ground conditions and the correct use of stabilisers, outriggers and spreader plates.

The federation will also discuss recent developments to its accident reporting project which collects data on worldwide fatalities involving mobile elevating work platforms and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs), with the aim of identifying key causes and introducing further safety initiatives.

In the absence of a European or British standard for tensioned access platforms – often referred to as WP nets, walk on nets and tensioned netting – FASET, the trade body representing the fall arrest and safety net rigging industry, will showcase its own new guidance which is free to download from the association’s website. Tensioned access platforms are increasingly used to provide a collective and passive working platform for light duty access.

FASET has also confirmed its lone worker policy when using fall arrest safety nets. Defined as those individuals who work by themselves out of eye and/ or earshot of a work colleague who can undertake a rescue, it takes a ‘zero tolerance’ approach and has decreed that lone working is unacceptable while erecting or dismantling equipment.

The Ladder Association’s ‘Idiots on Ladders’ campaign will provide all the evidence needed that there are still people out there who are prepared to take risks when working at height. Run in conjunction with the association’s annual ladder exchange, the campaign highlights the continuing need for education and formal training in the height safety sector.

In the IOSH conference, delegates should check out ‘Working at height: how leadership and innovation can drive change in the world’s leading cause of death and injury in the workplace’, which is featured on 16 June at 16.45.

The Access Industry Forum comprises BSIF; EPF; FASET; IPAF; IRATA; Ladder Association; PASMA; SAEMA and WAHSA.

AIF’s stand number is Q2000. For more information, visit:

Chris Kendall is chair of AIF’s marketing and PR committee

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