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January 29, 2014

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Working at height guidance overhauled


Guidance for working at height has been overhauled as part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge. 
It’s estimated that more than a million British businesses and 10 million workers carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year. Falls are one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury at work.
In line with the red tape challenge the HSE has overhauled its guidance for working at height with the aim of setting out what should and should not be done in simple terms.
Health and safety minister, Mike Penning, said: “It’s vital that businesses are not bogged down in complicated red tape and instead have useable advice about protecting their workers.
“As a former fireman, I know that the 10 million people who are working at height in this country face risks in their job. But I’m also clear that managing these risks can be done sensibly, by giving simple and clear advice and tackling myths that confuse employers.”
Key changes to the guidance include:
€ᄁ providing simple advice about dos and don’ts when working at height to ensure people are clear on what the law requires;
€ᄁ busting some of the persistent myths about health and safety law, such as the banning of ladders when they can still be used;
€ᄁ offering targeted advice to helping business in different sectors manage serious risks sensibly and proportionately; and
€ᄁ helping workers to be clearer about their own responsibilities for working safely.
Chair of the HSE, Judith Hackitt, said: “It’s important to get working at height right. Falls remain one of the biggest causes of serious workplace injury — with more than 40 people killed and 4,000 suffering major injuries every year.
“We have a sensible set of regulations and have been working with business to improve our guidance. 
“The result is advice that employers can count on to help them manage their businesses sensibly and proportionately.”
The new guidance has been backed by the British Retail Consortium, Small Business Trade Association Forum, trade unions, and the Access Industry Forum.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAH), which set out the law as it applies in Great Britain, have not been changed. 
The new guidance is available free on the HSE website

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