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Parliament intervenes on work at height

Despite safety at height being near the top of the HSE’s agenda for the last two decades, it has stubbornly remained the main cause of fatal accidents, with 35 fatalities in 2017/18.

With this in mind, an all-party parliamentary group was formed with the remit of investigating the causes of these accidents, understanding the effect they have on workers’ lives and making recommendations on what should change.

The group wants the HSE to gather more data on the reports which are submitted to it under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Other suggestions are for more work at height safety campaigns, a voluntary confidential reporting process for less serious accidents and near-misses and a fatal accident inquiry system throughout the UK, similar to that which already operates in Scotland.

Although MPs have produced this report, it will be some time before we see any changes to legislation or procedures. However, this shouldn’t stop you from reviewing your arrangements for managing work at height risks. For example, do you have handrails in place, sufficient scaffolding, etc.

An all-party parliamentary group has investigated the causes of falls from height. Its report recommends new campaigns and improvements to the investigation of fatal accidents. It won’t result in immediate changes, so in the meantime check your arrangements are up to scratch.

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