The HSE in Scotland have embarked upon a targeted inspection campaign for the month of September. Inspectors will be visiting construction sites across Scotland with a focus on work at height. In the year ending April 2012 49 workers lost their lives on construction sites with falls from height being the most common cause of fatal injury.
It is not necessary to look much further than the HSE press releases on enforcement activity to see how seriously work at height is taken.
In August this year three companies were ordered to pay fines totalling £232,000 following the collapse of a platform that resulted in serious injury to two workers.
Another prosecution concluding in August saw a housing repair and maintenance company fined £18,000 after a worker fell through a fragile roof causing serious neck and back fractures.
In July a Berkshire construction company was fined £13,000 after a worker fell through a skylight opening in a flat room resulting in serious injury.
The list of examples goes on.
The current Inspection campaign will largely focus on those working on the external parts of buildings but as can be seen from the examples work at height can take place in a multitude of circumstances. The campaign will focus on ensuring that employers have correctly identified and planned work at height and that equipment is appropriate to the job, inspected, maintained and used properly.
For anybody working in the construction industry now would be a good time to ensure that you have adequate measures in place for any work at height on your constructions sites.