The Access Industry Forum (AIF) has joined forces with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to release a series of new and informative work at height toolbox talks to shine the spotlight on height safety.
These new resources, supported by the HBF and distributed across developers’ sites, will focus on key areas of work at height identified by the HBF Health and Safety Committee. With over one million businesses and 10 million workers estimated to carry out work at height every year1, these toolbox talks will ultimately improve the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone working in the construction and built environment.
The series launched in October with a focus on ladder safety, as part of the ‘Stop. Make a Change’ campaign. Ladder safety continues to be one of the biggest and constant health and safety issues facing the home building industry, where a third of reported accidents involve ladders2. The toolbox talks covered key information and useful references relating to the safe use, selection and securing of ladders, with supplementary guidance for managers and supervisors to deliver the talks.
The next in the series of toolkits will focus on platform decking and provide employees and managers with guidance on using and securing decking. These toolkits have been designed with AIF member FASET (Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training) and are due to be launched in early 2022.
Over 800 ladder toolbox talks have been downloaded during the campaign period, 24% of which related to the most popular topic of using ladders safely. Promotional emails were seen by almost 7,000 people, resulting in over 1,100 unique webpage views, and social media posts relating to the campaign reached more than 1,000 users.
AIF Director, Tony Seddon, said, “We’re delighted to work with the HBF to create and deliver these practical, easy-to-understand toolbox talks across a range of important work at height topics. When people think of work at height, they automatically think of scaffolders – but everyday employees including bricklayers, roofers and dry liners will work from height and are at risk of falling too. Safe working starts with good planning and these toolkits will help organisations understand the correct preparations that could ultimately save lives.”
Sara Cartin, Operations Manager at HBF, said, “HBF are proud to be working with the Access Industry Forum in advocating the importance of safely working from height. Our Health and Safety Committee subgroup, led by Nathan Preston, has been instrumental in identifying the key areas of improvements and contributing to solutions to reduce injuries within the home building and wider construction industry. We are committed to making continued improvements in health, safety and wellbeing to ensure everyone feels safe in their working environments.”
Jason Carlton, Head of Strategic Engagement at the Ladder Association, added, “We’re delighted with the success of the ladder safety toolkits, the first in the series of topics from the AIF and HBF. Here at the Ladder Association, we urge all businesses to put ladder safety and training at the top of their height safety agenda, and we hope these toolkits can help reduce the number of injuries and dangerous occurrences on site when using ladders.”
The work at height toolkits can be used by organisations of any size at no cost and are available to download from the HBF website, www.hbf.co.uk/policy/health-safety/shared-knowledge/.
1 Source: ‘Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Height’, inquiry report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Working at Height.
2 Source: RIDDOR data (2019/2020) collected from HBF members.