Working at height carries its own particular risks and is regulated with specific legislation. Whenever working at height is unavoidable, an employer has the obligation to ensure that all measures are taken to keep any associated risks to an absolute minimum.
Safety-critical checks are an integral and essential part of the process. All pieces of safety-critical equipment must be checked thoroughly before use and formal procedures should be put into place to ensure these checks are carried out correctly.
A failure to do so can be catastrophic for workers and costly for their employers, as a Worcestershire construction company found when they working as contractors building a new factory building.
Two employees were building a concrete core, using a climbing form work to enable them to work at the top of the core. The problem arose when an anchor point came out of alignment, and the men used a bolt not intended for this use to attempt to secure the frame.
As they continued working, the platform the men were standing on tipped, sending them to the ground eight metres below. One man was left with a lacerated head wound along with severely bruised internal organs. The other suffered a broken hip and pelvis and has still not fully recovered.