The dreaded hop up! Over the last few months, the topic of hop up usage has made an appearance at least five times and some of what is being reported is strange. The hop up is a very useful piece of work at height equipment in certain circumstances. Circumstances such as working in a riser (where space is limited), putting up pictures, or when someone has to work at a low level height for a very short period of time.
The reality is if someone has to work at height quickly and has not got the right piece or suitable piece of work at height equipment, then the likelihood is that the person will use an alternative piece of equipment to achieve their task. However the alternative piece of work at height equipment may not be safe or designed for the task in hand.
To practically explain this is the scenario of changing a light bulb, the hop up could have easily suited this task; however, if one is not available the user will use an alternative – which in most cases would be a chair or crate.
Another scenario will be when sites require hop ups to have edge protection! A very strange idea, as this situation makes the worker more complacent. Imagine someone stretching on a hop up to reach something that has no edge protection. The user will have to step down and move the hop up as he knows he cannot stretch far enough. However putting edge protection on the hop up allows the user to make a dangerous and silly decision to stretch but as there is now an edge around the hop up they can stretch that little bit further and ultimately may fall over. The edge protection will also test the judgement of staff when needing to reach that little bit higher, standing on the guardrail is an easy solution to a quick fix, but it is one we don’t want.
Over all hop ups are safe in certain circumstances but with edge protection they seem to become unsafe. We realise that different sites have different policies however a common sense approach is needed when deciding on hop ups.
We hope that this has shed some light on the situation.