Working at Height, the Law and IPAF Training

The Health and Safety Executive, more commonly abbreviated to HSE, are putting a big focus on working at height this financial year, with statistics showing that this is an area in which there is room for improvement across a range of industries. The HSE has reported that falls from height are still the most common cause of fatalities in the workplace. However, with proper training, awareness and knowledge there is no reason why this figure could not be reduced.

Before introducing one of the training courses which educates and informs employees about how to correctly use and be aware of the risks surrounding working at height, the IPAF training course, it is important to understand the legislation that surrounds health and safety in the workplace and more specifically working at height. The most important piece of legislation is the Health and Safety at Work Act, published initially in 1974, although there have been revisions and updates since then. The main principle outlined by the act is that employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. There are many aspects to include when thinking about how to carry out this promise, from a health and safety policy to a procedure for reporting incidents and from carrying out risk assessments to providing training for employees. Obviously every business and organisation will have different priorities as you cannot compare one to another.

The Working at Height Act, which relates directly to the IPAF training, is an addition to the legislation regarding health and safety at work and these regulations apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall that could cause personal injury. The duty is again placed on the employer, the self-employed or manager or supervisor to keep those people in their charge safe. Other than conducting risk assessments, the regulations also require that all those working at height are competent the equipment used for the work is properly inspected and maintained. This is where a qualification such as IPAF can help you do ensure you’re adhering to the legislation.

IPAF is the International Powered Access Federation which promotes the effective and safe use of powered access worldwide. Along with providing a training course and certification for those wishing to become proficient in the use of access machinery the IPAF have a played a key role in promoting the design, safety and testing procedures which are now established in the powered access industry. As their reputation really does come before them, the IPAF training course is highly regarded and recognised in the industry and reflects a sign of quality. The training course is a mix of both theory and practical training over one or two days with refresher courses available after certain time periods. Successful participants on the courses receive the PAL Card, standing for Powered Access Licence. It is the most widely held and recognised proof of training in this area.

The sheer height that theses powered access vehicles can reach are quite staggering – most reach 45m and the largest have a stretch in excess of 100m. With these figures you really do start to realise why there must be some form of training to those employees using the vehicles. Sometimes health and safety is seen as a massive barrier to jump over with a great deal of boxes to tick, but when you think about it realistically it is completely necessary to ensure safety in the workplace.

Bio: Britannia Safety and Training are leading providers of IPAF training near Norwich. Their industry experienced trainers know how to put the theory into practice and the state of the art training venue with over 6000m2 of space is custom built for purpose.

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