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"Falls from Height" Inspection

James C

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We've just been advised that we are to receive one of these under our Local Authority's Health and Safety Team Priority Inspection Programme.


The letter points out that 50% of fatal injuries happen in places that are not construction sites, so I'm assuming that non-construction high-risk industries such as ours are currently a priority for scrutiny. Certainly no bad thing. Maybe the ladder really has had its day in the entertainment world?


Just wondering if anyone else had had one of these inspections really, to know what to expect.

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And in service industries (I'd put theatres in here rather than construction), the majority of accidents are due to people falling from height, or being struck by objects incl. them falling from height [RIDDOR statistics], hence the interest. More sparkies die from falling off their ladders than from electric shocks!


Not sure what form such an inspection might take, but from your point of view you need to present details of your compliance with LOLER (e.g. lifting equipment test certificates, inspections at the appropriate intervals, etc.), PUWER (e.g. staff training, recording of this training and periodic retraining, etc.), and present your risk assessments and safe working procedures for your employees working at height.

You should probably work with the inspectors from your current procedures, rather than the inspectors just wandering round and telling you how you should be doing things. You do need to be aware that most local authorities have little clue about what is appropriate for theatres specifically, and by presenting your safety documentation, backed up by industry advice, you shouldn't worry about them suggesting anything crazy (e.g. toeboards and handrail along the front of the stage, etc.). If you can show that you have proper procedures in place and aren't cavalier about safety, you'll be on the right track with them.


Alternatively, this may be a good time to get their backup on your thoughts to present to the management - e.g. to buy fall arrest kit or a new access tower etc. as appropriate.

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