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Fall prevention equipment inspections

For projects involving working at height, a risk assessment should be completed to determine the appropriate equipment and provide guidance on inspection. This risk assessment should also be provided to contractors before any work commences. Selection of the equipment should take into account a range of factors such as ground conditions, duration and frequency of use and additional risks posed by use, installation and removal of the work equipment.

When selecting work equipment for work at height, the duty holder is required to prioritise collective measures over personal measures. This means that collective protection offered by MEWPs, scaffolding, guardrails etc should be given preference to personal fall protection systems such as work positioning, rope access and fall arrest. However it does not prohibit the use of the latter if it is the most appropriate work equipment given the nature of the work to be carried out.

Fall arrest equipment such as harnesses and lanyards must be marked accordingly and safe for such a purpose, i.e. all necessary precautions have been taken to eliminate or reduce any risk. Where appropriate, fall arrest equipment (including accessories) should be thoroughly examined before it is used for the first time and at least six-monthly or at intervals laid down in an examination schedule set by a competent person. All examination work should be performed by a competent person; and following a thorough inspection, a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer to take the appropriate action.

Personal fall arrest systems must be:

  • Suitable for the type of work and be capable of meeting load requirements
  • Correctly fitted and worn
  • Designed to minimise any injury to the wearer
  • Designed to prevent the unplanned or uncontrolled movement of the user
  • If the system is designed to be used with an anchor point, attached to at least one anchor of sufficient strength

British Standard, BS 8437:2005 provides detailed guidance on the selection, use and maintenance of personal fall arrest equipment.

Which Scafftag systems can help?

Requirement Relevant products
Inspecting and maintaining equipment at suitable periods as deemed appropriate by a risk assessment

Microtag – fall arrest equipment
Nanotag – fall arrest equipment
Safetrak – fall arrest equipment 

Maintaining a record of all inspections Safetrak – fall arrest equipment
Ensuring employees are informed if equipment is not safe to use Microtag – fall arrest equipment
Nanotag – fall arrest equipment
Safetrak – fall arrest equipment
Keeping a register of all fall arrest equipment Safetrak – fall arrest equipment

For further advice on developing a Fall Prevention inspection system, request a free Scafftag on-site visit, click here

Relevant Legislation:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989
  • Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Working at Height Regulations 2005
  • Construction Design & Management Regulations 2007