HSE farm inspections to include a focus on working at height

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be visiting farms across Great Britain throughout winter 2023 and into Spring 2024, with inspections focusing on the main causes of death and serious injury in farming, including falls from height.  Autumn and winter are traditionally the time when farms may need to carry out building maintenance; e.g. repairing leaking roofs, replacing damaged roof sheeting or repairing storm damage.

Before carrying out any work at height, you should stop and think:

  • Avoid work at height, wherever possible.  Do as much as you can from the ground, e.g. using extending equipment to clear gutters.
  • Avoid doing the work yourself.  Use professional contractors 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 will use a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) or scaffold.
  • Don’t be tempted to use the wrong equipment.  Lifting people on the forks or bucket of a telehandler or forklift truck is illegal.  As is walking or working on fragile roof materials.

Remember – fragile materials should have prominent warning signs to alert anyone working in the vicinity.  Unsafe work at height really is not worth the risk.  Make sure that work at height risks are controlled on your farm.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above matters, please contact us at Cope Safety Management for professional and comprehensive advice.