Safety Spotlight – Working at Height & Drugs and Alcohol Awareness

For the month of December, we are putting in the spotlight two key areas relating to our Hazard of the Month, Working at Height and Drug and Alcohol Awareness.

Working at Height

A ladder resting against a wooden surface, with its shadow reflected upon it in, in black and white.Working at Height is a serious issue that is relevant to almost every profession due to it covering a wide range of work usage, such as unsafe ladder practices to working on fragile roofs. It even spreads as far as present-delivering when Father Christmas shows off his savvy Health and Safety knowledge whilst traversing rooftops.

However, the latest data from the HSE shows that sadly there were 111 workers killed in 2019/20 as reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). Of these 111, 29 workers were killed from falls from height making it the main cause of fatal accidents to workers in 2019/20. Therefore, working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries and anyone prosecuted for not ensuring this type of work is carried out safely when an accident does happen can be fined heavily; in 2019/20 a total of £35.8 million worth of fines were given out by the HSE, with the average fine per case was £110,000.

If reasonably practicable, you should avoid Working at Height altogether, as the safest way to prevent injury is not to undertake dangerous work. If not possible, you must put measures in place to prevent falls or minimise injuries, as assessed by a risk assessment.

We have chosen Working at Height as our Christmas hazard because who would know this better than Father Christmas himself? Every year he is certain to brush up on his working at height knowledge in the run-up to that special night of the year when he delivers presents to every rooftop in the world! You can get your knowledge up to scratch too with our RoSPA Accredited Working at Height online training course which you can complete from anywhere, even the North Pole!

Drugs & Alcohol Awareness

Pink pills spilled out from a pill bottle.Another issue Santa would be aware of when working at height is knowing that being sober whilst undertaking his duties is important, no matter how much he wants some eggnog. Although Drug & Alcohol usage is a sensitive issue, the potential cost to your business means that this is a problem which needs to be addressed. As an employer, you must ensure the health, safety and welfare of your workers in the workplace, including drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) amongst your employees. If you are a worker, you also have a duty to take reasonable care of yourself and others who could be affected by your actions while you are at work.

One-third of employers say that alcohol and drug misuse is a problem at work and 60 per cent experience problems in the workplace due to staff drinking, highlighting that is a prevalent issue that many companies have to deal with. Mixing drugs and alcohol with any type of physical work is dangerous but this is especially true for working at height as it can affect your mobility and decision-making, meaning you are more likely to take unsafe risks.

If this doesn’t convince you of the dangers of mixing drugs/alcohol with work, try and imagine the carnage Father Christmas would staggering around rooftops after one too many mulled wines! Although a potentially funny image initially, intoxication and heights is a definite no go and a drunk Santa could definitely ruin Christmas.

If you would like to learn more about drug and alcohol misuse in a personal and professional capacity, take a look at our Alcohol and Drug Awareness online training course!

For this month only you can get 10% off these two courses with the code ‘WaH20’!

10% off Working at Height and Alcohol & Drug Awareness online training courses with the code 'WaH20'.