HSE are visiting farms across Great Britain throughout Winter 2023 and into Spring 2024 and inspections will focus on the main causes of death and serious injury in farming, including falls from height.
Autumn and Winter are traditionally a time when farms may need to carry out building maintenance; e.g. repair leaking roofs, or replace damaged roof sheeting or repair storm damage.
Before carrying out any work at height, stop and think:
- avoid work at height wherever possible. Do as much as you can from the ground, e.g. use extending equipment to clear gutters
- avoid doing the work yourself. Use a professional contractor with the knowledge, skills, equipment and experience to safely work at height on buildings, roofs and structures
- on the rare occasions where roof work or building maintenance at height cannot be avoided or done by competent contractors or specialist professionals, make sure the work is planned and carried out by people with the right training and equipment – for example, trained and experienced people using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) or scaffold
- don’t be tempted to use the wrong equipment. Being lifted on the forks or bucket of a telehandler or fork lift truck is illegal. As is walking or working on fragile roof materials
Remember that fragile materials should have prominent warning signs to alert anyone working in the vicinity.
Unsafe working at height is really not worth the risk. Make sure that work at height risks are controlled on your farm.