Global organisation for Health and Safety, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) recently invited Finch Head of Expert Services Dr Richard Brown to deliver a webinar to IOSH members all about working at height, but from an Expert’s point of view.
Based in the UK, IOSH is the Chartered body and largest membership organisation for safety and health professionals with over 46,000 members worldwide.
On Thursday 8th October 2021, Richard delivered his webinar titled “Working at Height – an Expert Perspective” to the London Metropolitan branch of IOSH. We are told by the IOSH branch that this was a record turnout.
His presentation was aimed at a brief description of the role of an expert witness, with a personal review of what he saw as recent trends in expert work at height issues from his own caseload. Richard discussed what was considered work at height and what was not, and tied the importance of getting it right when working at height with the sentencing guidelines. Richard discussed the trend in higher fines, imprisonment, and several gross negligence manslaughter cases recently tried in court.
Richard spent much of his presentation discussing the work at height hierarchy and the principles of prevention. He stressed that measures at the top of the hierarchy were favoured, yet much of his court appearances were where reliance on the bottom of the hierarchy was utilised – such as fall restraint, and people working 2 metres + from any fragile surface or edge with no other controls in place. Richard explained that as humans we all make mistakes, slips and lapses and this was to be expected. He explained that reliance on the lower parts of the hierarchy was vulnerable to human frailty and mistakes. Risk assessments should always consider the top of the hierarchy controls when considering work at height. Mistakes when working at height can be catastrophic. Richard ended by discussing the future of work at height safety for industry and then took a number of questions.
In light of the COVID pandemic, IOSH created a schedule of webinars and virtual meetings for their members to enable them to keep their knowledge of health and safety up to date and help with CPD requirements which is still going strong.
If you would like more advice related to working at height or watched the presentation and would like to get in touch, please contact Richard directly at [email protected].
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