IPAF echoes work at height safety call as construction activity ramps

No Falls Foundation MEWP

As work at height on construction sites and in maintenance tasks continues to increase as the UK eases its lockdown, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is helping to remind workers of the latest message from The No Falls Foundation – ‘Be Safe, Don’t Fall, Stay Alive!’

The No Falls Foundation is a charity dedicated to preventing falls from height and helping people affected by the life-changing consequences of a fall, and IPAF is one of the charity’s supporting member organisations.

Peter Bennett OBE, Chair of the trustees, says: “Falls from height are the single biggest cause of workplace deaths in the UK and one of the main causes of major injuries. It’s therefore imperative that safety is not compromised for the sake of productivity.

“We have witnessed unprecedented collaboration and mobilisation of all the stakeholders in industry – government, regulators, employers, trade associations, trade unions and employees – to fundamentally change behaviours to try and ensure that COVID-19 does not wreak devastation in the workplace.

“Moving forward, we need to harness and build upon that collaboration and sense of common cause and apply it to that commonplace, often unnoticed danger – working at height.”

Peter Douglas, IPAF CEO & MD and a trustee of the No Falls Foundations, adds: “Our members have remained active on key construction sites and infrastructure projects throughout the lockdown, as their specialist services are required to maintain safety while working at height.

“However, as output levels return to normal and some sites increase working hours and indeed add extra staff and machines to make up for any lost time, it’s very important to ensure we emphasise these simple but vital messages to remind all workers to stay safe when working at height, especially when many workers might have been off site for some time, and will understandably take some time to get back into their routines. This is a critical time to remind people of their responsibilities to look out for themselves and others while working at height, and to resist any pressure or temptation to cut corners or skip vital safety procedures in an attempt to catch up on lost time.

“IPAF and the other members of the Access Industry Forum have information and guidance to help keep you safe, including the Andy Access series of Toolbox Talks (www.ipaf.org/ToolboxTalk), a series of short site safety briefings for managers or supervisors to deliver to their teams at the start of a shift to remind them of the basics while using powered access to work at height.”

The work and role of the No Falls Foundation is actively supported and championed by the member organisations of the Access Industry Forum – the forum for the principal trade associations and federations involved in work at height. Members: ATLAS, BSIF, EPF, FASET, IPAF, IRATA, Ladder Association, NASC, PASMA, SAEMA, WAHSA.

The Foundation, which has three objectives – raising awareness of the risks associated with working at height, researching the causes of falls and providing advice and support to those affected by a fall – is also asking anyone who has suffered a fall and experienced its consequences to get in touch. 

Hannah Williams, the charity’s manager, adds: “We’re looking for people to share their personal stories in a series of case studies on the Foundation’s website – anonymously if necessary – for the benefit of others. If anyone would like to contribute to the work of the charity and help save lives by stopping falls, we would be delighted to hear from them.”

The No Falls Foundation is set to publish the first issue of Saving Lives, an occasional e-newsletter for anyone involved – directly or indirectly – in the work at height sector. To sign up, please visit www.nofallsfoundation.org; to take part in IPAF’s worldwide accident reporting project, where you can report incidents involving MEWPs anonymously to help keep the industry safe for all powered access users, please visit www.ipaf.org/accident

Other news you might be interested in

  • New country representatives for Spain and Switzerland have been appointed by IPAF: Javier Cerezo will be the federation’s new rep in Spain, while Christine Lell steps up from acting in an interim capacity to take on the role full time for Switzerland.

  • Information gathered in a worldwide project to report accidents and near-misses has informed a major update to IPAF’s comprehensive training course on how to load and unload MEWPs and other plant equipment safely from trucks or trailers.