Working at height is an everyday activity in many industries but poses significant risks to workers. Falls from height are among the leading causes of workplace fatalities and injuries.
As per the yearly report released by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute in Singapore, falls from heights continue to be the primary reason behind work-related fatalities in Singapore. In 2020, they accounted for 32% of all occupational deaths, reflecting the trend over the last ten years, where falls from heights have been a consistent leading cause of workplace fatalities in Singapore.
That’s why employers must understand and comply with the Work at Height (WAH) regulations set by Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council. This article aims to guide employers on the WSH WAH regulations and the measures they need to take to ensure working at height safety requirements for their workers.
Table of Contents
Understanding the WSH Work at Height Regulations
The WSH WAH regulations are guidelines designed to promote working at height safety and the associated risks of not following regulation. These regulations specify the minimum requirements that employers must meet to ensure the safety and health of their workers.
The WSH WAH regulations apply to all employers who engage in work-at-height activities, including those who manage, supervise, or carry out such work. This includes construction, maintenance, repair work, and activities such as window cleaning or tree pruning.
The critical requirements of the WSH WAH regulations for working at height safety include the following:
- Conducting risk assessments.
- Implementing control measures to prevent falls.
- Providing appropriate access equipment.
- Ensuring that workers are trained and competent with the working at height safety regulations.
Failure to comply with the WSH WAH regulations can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Non-compliance can also lead to workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Responsibilities of Employers
Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety and health of their workers. Under the WSH WAH regulations, employers are responsible for identifying and assessing the risks associated with work at height, implementing appropriate control measures, and providing workers with proper access to equipment and training.
To ensure compliance with the regulations, employers should conduct regular risk assessments, implement control measures to prevent falls, provide appropriate access equipment, and ensure workers are trained and competent to work at height.
Employer non-compliance with the WSH WAH regulations can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Non-compliance can also lead to workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities, which can have severe consequences for the employer and the worker.
Work at Height Safety Measures
Work at height safety measures can prevent risk of severe injuries and fatal accidents. It is therefore essential to enhance the safety measures associated with these risky activities. Some examples of work-at-height activities include working on ladders or scaffolding, roof work, and tree trimming.
To ensure the safety of workers, employers should implement appropriate control measures to prevent falls, such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal protective equipment. Employers should also ensure that workers are trained to use access equipment safely and that the equipment is maintained and inspected regularly.
Access equipment can include ladders, scaffolding, aerial work platforms, and rope access systems. Employers should select the appropriate access equipment based on the specific work at height activity and ensure that the equipment is suitable for the task and properly maintained.
Training and Certification
Training is essential for ensuring working at height safety measures. It helps workers understand the risks associated with working at height and how to identify and mitigate them.
Training also allows workers to learn how to use access equipment safely and effectively.
Under the WSH WAH regulations, employers must ensure that workers receive appropriate training. Training should be provided by a competent person and tailored to the specific work-at-height activity. The training should cover risk assessment, control measures, and the safe use of access equipment.
Employees who work at height should have relevant certifications to demonstrate their competence. This can include certificates of competency for specific types of access equipment, such as scaffold erectors or crane operators. Employers should ensure workers have the appropriate certification before allowing them to work at height.
In conclusion, the WSH WAH regulations are essential for ensuring the safety of workers who carry out work at height. Employers have a duty of care to comply with these regulations and to ensure that their workers are trained and competent to carry out work at height safely.
Employers can prevent workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities by implementing appropriate control measures and providing workers with proper access to equipment and training. We urge all employers to prioritize work at height safety and comply with the WSH WAH regulations to ensure the well-being of their workers. For more details on safety tips for working at heights click here.