Guidance for working at height to be simplified

Published:  28 January, 2014

An overhaul of guidance on working at height was launched on 28 January as part of the government's long-term economic plan to abolish or improve outdated, burdensome or over-complicated regulations which waste businesses' time and money.

More than a million British businesses and 10 million workers are estimated to 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.

Now the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has overhauled its guidance for such activity, setting out in clear, simple terms what to do and what not to do – and debunking common myths that can confuse and mislead employers.

Altogether, more than 3,000 regulations have been identified for scrapping or improving through the Red Tape Challenge – which asks businesses and the public themselves to identify the rules that hold them back.

Health & 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 the myths that can confuse employers.”

Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health & Safety Executive, 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.

The need to ensure people understand what the law requires was identified in the independent review of health and safety regulation undertaken by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, and this proposal has been developed through the Red Tape Challenge.

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