The All Party Parliamentary Group on Working at Height has released a report on its inquiry into safe working practices at height in the UK.
The APPG was established in October 2017 and launched its inquiry a few months later, in the hopes of finding ways to reduce the number of those killed or injured when working at height, with the help of businesses and experts throughout the country.
In the report, 'Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Height', the group has made several recommendations it hopes will complement the practical measures already in place, which have made the UK one of the safest countries in which to carry out work at height.
The recommendations are:
- The introduction of enhanced reporting without an additional burden, through RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), which at a minimum, records the scale of a fall, the method used and the circumstances of the fall.
- The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses and accidents that do not qualify for RIDDOR reporting. The data collected by this independent body will be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
- The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns to industries outside of the construction sector.
- An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process to be extended to the rest of the UK.
- The creation of a digital technology strategy, to include a new tax relief for small, micro and sole traders, to enable them to invest in new technology.
- A major review of work at height culture. This should include an investigation into the suitability of legally binding financial penalties in health and safety, funds which could be used towards raising awareness and training, particularly in hard to reach sectors.
Since the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations in 2005, the UK has consistently shown some of the lowest workplace fatality and serious injury rates in the EU, with 0.55 fatalities per 100,000 employes in 2014, compared with France (3.14) and Germany (0.81).
However, the Health and Safety Executive has released data which reveals that 18% of those who are killed at work die as a result of falls from height. Most notable is the APPG's recommendation that a major review be carried out into current work at height practices.
Chair of the APPG Alison Thewliss MP said: ‘The APPG has spent the past year investigating the causes of falls from height, to understand the effect they have on workers’ lives and to make recommendations as to how best to mitigate falls in the future.
‘The fantastic public and industry response to this inquiry has served to highlight the significance and enduring nature of this issue.
‘Our inquiry and report marks the beginning of the APPG’s work. Working with industry and government, we hope to make recommendations that will create a safer environment for the millions who work at height every day.’
To read the full report, click here.
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