Health and safety training for work at height – working at height involves many risks, including the most serious of all, which is a fall. Therefore, it should only be performed by suitably qualified and trained personnel. What is worth knowing about health and safety training for working at heights? Who is obliged to do so and under what conditions?
What is working at heights?
Let’s start by saying what works at altitude? Although you can hear many discrepancies on this issue, the definition of work at height is strictly defined in the law. As they emphasize, work at height applies to people who work above the ground or on surfaces located at a height of at least 1 m from the ground. This applies to both work on structural elements (ladders or scaffolding) and on ropes. At the same time, the regulations provide for some exceptions, indicating that this should not be considered work at height. Well, we are talking about missions carried out at least 1 m above the ground, but in a place protected on all sides by full walls. Working at height does not qualify as performing duties in a place equipped with a stabilizing structure that effectively protects employees from falling.
OHS training for working at heights
Work at height is considered to be performed in particularly dangerous conditions. This is reflected in aspects such as the frequency of health and safety training. But let’s start with the basics, i.e. with the initial training. Every employee working at height is obliged to participate. The initial OHS training consists of two parts – general and on-the-job. The general part contains basic information on occupational health and safety as well as the rights and obligations of employees. On the other hand, on-the-job training focuses on getting employees to perform their duties with safety as a priority. On-the-job training must be conducted by people with knowledge and experience in a specific field and familiar with the work performed. Usually this is the direct supervisor, if the mission takes place at altitude. On-the-job training lasts at least 8 hours and must take place before the employee begins to perform his or her duties. The next health and safety training must be completed within 12 months of the date of employment. As the work is carried out in particularly dangerous conditions, regular training is carried out every year. Participation is compulsory and training should be conducted by occupational health and safety experts.
OHS training and work at heights
Safety training for people working at height is often confused with training for working at height. However, keep in mind that these are two different courses. The issues of health and safety training are clearly regulated by law. What’s more, the training itself is not introductory to work. It only draws attention to the risks arising from the performance of certain duties at certain heights. Meanwhile, training in the field of work at heights is currently not mandatory – only employees who assemble scaffolding or use climbing paths are obliged to participate. However, a working at heights course is a good practice because it gives you the knowledge needed to perform work in certain conditions.
OHS training for working at heights and other obligations of employers
Working at heights is associated with certain risks, which is why employers are obliged to organize health and safety training more often than in other professions. However, these are not all the obligations he must fulfill towards his employees. Regular medical examinations are very important so that the doctor can conclude that there are no contraindications to work at height. Employers provide employees with collective and individual means of ongoing supervision and protection. In the context of collective measures, we are talking about structures or barriers, while individual measures are about helmets or seat belts. Employers should take into account that failure to fulfill at least one of the obligations will prevent the person from being employed. If the employee is nevertheless allowed to perform his duties, the employer will be financially responsible, and in extreme cases even a penalty. This should be taken into account when organizing workplaces at height. In case of any doubts, employers can seek advice from health and safety experts who will provide them with all the necessary information to best protect their employees.