We appreciate you joining us for our SHP Webinar ‘The revocation of the Working At Height Regulations – Why they need to stay.’
We’d like to provide you with the most recent regulatory updates. In a significant policy shift, the UK Government revealed its decision not to fully enact the originally proposed repeal of retained EU laws. This includes the crucial Working at Height Regulations. Instead of the initial plan to discard around 4,000 pieces of EU-era legislation, the government has opted to scrap approximately 600 of these regulations, and notably, the Work at Height regulations are among those retained.
Following our recent webinar, we received a multitude of questions from attendees that we regretfully couldn’t address during the live session. We’re committed to providing you with the answers you seek, and we’re starting with the first set of questions below:
Why are the Government looking to remove all of these Regulations?
It is just part of the Brexit process, at the end of 2023 EU and UK law will automatically separate, we can choose what we want and need to keep.
Is there any regs for mobile towers that there is no need for harnesses to be worn?
Both PASMA and the HSE specifically recommend that you do not use a safety harness and lanyard when working on a mobile tower if the guardrails have been correctly installed then the tower has collective fall protection so personal fall prevention is not necessary, In fact, it would be unsafe to use a safety harness on a scaffold tower. Harness for scaffolding is not recommended as there are no anchor points on the tower for a person to attach a harness to – if you were to fall from a scaffold tower, you would pull the tower, and anyone else using it, down on top of you!
We are often asked to install an entrance which whilst is aesthetically pleasing, proves extremely difficult to service, repair and maintain. If architects and building designers have duties under CDM to consider how this will be done, why are their demands not so build friendly?
It should be, CDM requires risks to be removed or reduced and at least concidered at the planning stage, designers also need to think about the health and safety for the build, maintenance and deconstruction at its end of life
Which standards should we use for rope access strategies if the H&S document is removed?
BS EN 12841 Personal Fall protection equipment – Rope access Systems – Rope adjustment devices
BS ISO 22846 Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope Access Systems. Part 1 & Part 2
BS 8437 Code of practice for selection, use and maintenance of personal fall protection systems and equipment for use in the workplace.
BS 7985 Code of practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purpose – Recommendations and guidance supplementary to BS ISO 22846
BS EN 795 Personal Fall protection equipment – Anchor devices
BS 7883 Personal fall protection equipment Anchor Systems – Systems design, installation, and inspection – code of practise.
IRATA ICOP – International code of practice
IRATA TACS – Training Assessment & Certification Scheme
If the regulations are removed and they revert to becoming guidance, would courts not view the guidance as best practice anyway? Then it would be down to the defence to prove that the actions that organisation were equal to or better than that set out in the guidance?
Guidance has no legal standing , the “better than or equal to” is Quasi law relating to ACOPS.
The HSE would still prosecute under the Act even without the regs
Is IRATA mentioned by name in the W@H regs, or by the HSE?
IRATA is an accreditation which is not law and therefore is not mentioned within law. However, as the law requires personal to be trained and competent and IRATA is recognised as one of the best qualifications around the world for rope access and working at height, so it is mentioned in guidance notes and company procedures.
How can you install collective fall prevention during erecting of the scaffold?
Scaffolders now have access to what is called a SCAF-STEP, the process should be working to SG4:22 guidance, when installing an independent scaffold, the scaffolder will install a 950 guardrail off of the outside standards once the framework (ledgers and transoms of the lift above) of the first lift has been installed, then clipping the SCAFF-STEP to the 950 guardrail (known as the Advanced Guardrail or GAR for short) the scaffolder will clip his harness to the back inside ledger before climbing to the top of the step, the ledger now becomes the scaffolders guardrail preventing the scaffolder from falling, now the scaffolder can install the single or double guardrail for the above lift from the lift or ground below, once this has been achieved then the boards can be installed from the lift/ground below and once the ladder has been installed the scaffolder can now access the lift as the guardrails are already in place. This method can be adapted for site specific scaffolds and will always be in a risk assessment and method statement before they can undertake the work.
What do the HSE say about this?
The HSE, as an arm of government, cannot say much about the regulations’ future, confining itself in a statement to: “Our standards of health and safety protections are among the highest in the world and that won’t change.” And a Department for Business and Trade spokesperson would only say: “This government has no intention of abandoning our strong record on workers’ rights, having raised domestic standards over recent years to make them some of the highest in the world. Through the Retained EU Law Bill, we will be able to take important decisions around which legislation can be kept, and which is in need of reform or removal from our statute books. “Throughout, we will maintain the United Kingdom’s high standards of health and safety protection while continuing to reduce burdens for business.”
Is there a base standard for large vessels/tanks under the NASC?
At present the NASC TG20:21 Guidance sheets covers load class 1,2,3 and 4 for independent scaffolds, load classes 1,2 and 3 for birdcage scaffolds, very light duty 0.75KN for lift shaft scaffolds, tied 4 leg towers up to load class 3 (general purpose). TG20:21 guidance is restricted by the wind location in the area the scaffold is required as the hight of the scaffold may be drastically restricted in certain areas, with this in mind industrial scaffolds like vessels and tanks would require a bespoke design as the tying in of the scaffold and the leg loadings will have to be taken into consideration. You could however install a TG20:21 scaffold as long as the scaffold can be installed using the tying in pattern and the leg loadings are within the foundation support of the foundation of the tank/vessel.