Ireland Publishes New Working at Height Regulations – NISO Press Release
Ireland Working at Heights Regulations 2006
New regulations are available on the website of the National Irish Safety Organisation:
The Regulations re-transpose into Irish law Directives 89/655/EEC, concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers, as amended by Directive 95/63/EC and transposed into Irish law Directive 2001/45/EC.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Work at Heights) Regulations 2006 (SI 318/06) were signed into law on Wednesday, 21st June 2006.
The Regulations define “work at height” as meaning work in any place, including a place
(a) in the course of obtaining access to or egress from any place, except by a staircase in a permanent place of work, or
(b) at or below ground level,
from which, if measures required by these Regulations were not taken, an employee could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury, and any reference to carrying out work at height includes obtaining access to or egress from such a place while at work.
This means that the well established definition of working at height within Construction Regulations of “feet 2 metres above the ground or higher” is now gone. It also includes the risk of falling from ground level into shafts, cellars, holes etc.
The Regulations require a detailed risk assessment of all work to be carried out at height with emphasis on:
– Eliminating or minimising risks from working at height
– Safe systems of work for organising and performing work at height
– Safe systems for selecting suitable work equipment to perform the work
– Safe systems for protecting people from the consequences of work at height
The Regulations require planning in advance of any work at heights to determine if the work can be done any other way, e.g. can components be assembled on the ground and then lifted into place etc. They place duties on Employers, Self-Employed and individual employees. There is one specific requirement on employers to ensure that personally owned equipment used by employees is checked and assessed for suitability.
These regulations will apply, not just to the normal working at heights, on scaffolds and on roofs but also to work involving: working on the back of a lorry, painting, pasting or erecting posters at height, using a ladder, step-ladder or kick stool for shelf filling etc – so it is very far reaching.
If there are multiple contractors they a written formalised way of proceeding should be agreed which clearly states who is responsible for what.
The Regulations deal with issues of suitable equipment, competence in its erection and use, supervision, communications, monitoring weather conditions and ergonomic conditions such as physical strain of using tools etc.
Fragile surfaces, such as roof lights, both vertical and horizontal will need to be managed as well as loose items being carried by employees (e.g. mobile phones which could fall down and injure those below), using ladders or other equipment to get to a height.
There are seven specific Schedules at the back of the Regulations dealing with issues such as: requirements for existing workplaces, guardrails, working platforms, MEWPs, scaffolding, safeguards for arresting falls, personal fall protection systems, ladders and inspection reports.