What do we mean by working at height?
Anyone who is working in conditions that necessitate working on structures, including platforms or machinery above ground where any fall could result in personal injury is considered to be ‘working at height.’ In layman’s terms and to avoid ambiguity, if you are working above ground floor level you should definitely consider yourself working at height and in need of training. Working at height training is also required for those persons who are working on delicate surfaces that could break and precipitate a ‘fall through’ situation as well as those working in and around structures with holes in the ground that you could conceivably fall into.
Both employees and employers alike need to fully understand the risks as well as the legal training requirements for those working in any of these sets of conditions.
What training is appropriate?
Let’s start with an example. Supposing you’re supervising a job where a mobile tower is necessary on site. Under current work at height regulations you will be obligated to ensure that any mobile access towers (MATs) are assembled by someone or under the supervision of someone who is qualified in the relevant training.
The training that is required is accredited by PASMA. This situation would require someone to be present who has undertaken the PASMA (Mobile Towers) course – a course that is designed to develop your understanding of how to safely assemble, dismantle, relocate and alter a mobile access tower without risk of injury to yourself and others.
Should you be simply working on an MAT that has already be constructed then you will not need this more in-depth construction course, but rather the PASMA Work at Height Essentials Course. Consisting of half a day’s training as opposed to the full day for the Mobile Towers course, the Essentials course covers the vital information needed to safely use mobile access towers and offers a crucial insight into the use of associated equipment.
If your on-site duties will mean that you will be in control of powered access units such as cherry pickers and scissor lifts, then you will need to have IPAF training and the most commonly accepted proof of such training is the PAL card (Powered Access Licence). A PAL Card, IPAF Card or IPAF Ticket represents your evidence of having undergone the relevant training and gained the right level of experience to use such powered access equipment used when working at height. Site management supervisors are guided by Health and Safety legal requirements to make sure that all their on-site personnel understand the risks of their jobs and know how best to avoid accidents. The IPAF accredited PAL card transcends industry boundaries and offers such assurances.
The PAL card, gained after IPAF training will
- Be valid for 5 years (you can see your expiration date, when re-training is required
- Show the equipment that the holder is trained to operate
- Show the level of training (from operator to instructor)
- Feature holographic logo and photo ID to prevent fraudulent use