There is a wide range of access equipment on the market with a tool or piece of equipment available to suit every job. Due to the dangers involved when working at height, it should be said that any work that can be carried out from ground level in safety should be considered before involving added risk.
If you can prevent a fall from occurring, this is the best option available. If this is not possible, minimize the risk involved by using safe areas of access including platforms, gantries, and walkways with secure guard rails.
What Is Access Equipment?
Access equipment is any equipment that allows you to work safely at height by providing a secure and known safe area with features to protect the occupants and keep them safe. Some examples include access platforms, scaffolding, tower scaffolds, and podiums. There are also powered options available including boom, scissor, and spider lifts, allowing for more flexibility and higher working areas.
Why Do You Need Access Equipment?
The main purpose of access equipment is to allow operatives to gain access to high and hard to reach areas including ceilings, roofs, gantries, maintenance areas, and duct systems in a safe manner. There is always a risk present when working at height, but by using safe systems of work, and sufficient training, it can be mitigated to reduce accidents or situations that endanger working teams.
What Are The Legal Requirements For Access Equipment?
The Work At Height Regulations 2005, the law in place to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height, states that “employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure the work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height.”
Access equipment comes with lots of safety features including safety harnesses and belts to strap the workers in safely while the platform raises to the required working height. They are also important if in the rare event the platform fails, the occupant will remain strapped in during the incident. Some working areas are fragile, uneven, and decayed with age, and most out of reach areas are not designed to walk on so an access platform provides a strong, flat surface to work on. Access equipment, such as scaffolding, also creates a flat platform so a worker cannot fall a long distance.
The role of access equipment in improving health and safety, providing access, and remaining compliant with regulations shows its importance to employers to protect their employees from harm.
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