Westminster Hall debate on working at height
Debate held on APPG report 'Staying Alive'
It was fantastic to hear working at height being discussed at Westminster Hall last month, in a debate held by Alison Thewliss MP (pictured).
It marks another milestone for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height that was initiated and championed by PASMA.
All-Party Parliamentary Group
The Working at Height APPG is a group of MPs and Members of the Lords who recognise that industry and government can help reduce the number of falls from height. Falling from height was the most common type of fatal workplace accident in 2018 and causes thousands of non-fatal injuries each year. The consequences of a fall can be life-changing and affect not just the victim but also their family, friends and colleagues.
The APPG is dedicated to improving safety for the millions of people who work at height in sectors like construction, oil and gas, farming and facilities management, as well as home DIYers. Following a widespread public consultation, they published a report titled ‘Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Height’. In it, they recommend improved regulation aimed at preventing serious injuries and fatalities.
Alison Thewliss MP is Chair of the APPG and the debate on 2nd May 2019 gave her an opportunity to discuss their findings and recommendations with her colleagues. She called for:
- The introduction of enhanced reporting without an additional burden, through the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), which at a minimum, records the scale of a fall, the method used and the circumstances of the fall.
- The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses and accidents that do not qualify for RIDDOR reporting. The data collected by this independent body will be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
- The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns to industries outside of the construction sector.
- An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process to be extended to the rest of the UK.
The APPG has also recommended further consultation on:
- The creation of a digital technology strategy, to include a new tax relief for small, micro and sole traders, to enable them to invest in new technology.
- A major review of work at height culture. This should include an investigation into the suitability of legally binding financial penalties in health and safety, funds which could be used towards raising awareness and training, particularly in hard to reach sectors.
The Government’s response was delivered by Guy Opperman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. We were pleased to hear him welcome the report and call it ‘worthy and important’. He confirmed that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) intend to respond in full within 60 working days.
Gillian Rutter, our Madam Chairman and MD of Skyward Access Training , commented: “PASMA has been a big supporter of the Working at Height APPG since it formed in 2018. Many of our members contributed evidence during the consultation phase, which helped inform and shape the report. I know they join me in eagerly awaiting the HSE response and hoping that it moves us another step closer to the APPG’s recommendations becoming reality.”
Access Industry Forum (AIF)
PASMA is a member of the AIF, which is a forum for the principal trade associations and federations involved in work at height. Each organisation represents a different sector of the access industry and fosters codes of good practice, equipment standards, training, education and knowledge. Together we support the running of the APPG, giving us a voice in shaping new legislation that affects our members. You can read a detailed summary of the debate, along with more information about the APPG, on the AIF website.