HSENI’s construction team have launched their new ‘Internal Falls Are Preventable’ campaign, aimed at sending out a clear message to the construction industry.
Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of death, disability and injury in construction and are of great concern to HSENI. Northern Ireland’s construction industry has sadly taken five lives since January 2020 as a result of falls from height.
Three of these tragic fatalities occurred from falling inside a building when under construction, highlighting the critical importance of providing internal fall protection when working at height. Internal fall protection must be used when carrying out the following activities:
- Stripping, dismantling and refurbishing roofs;
- Installing joists or roof trusses;
- Dismantling or installing roof sheets and side panelling on commercial buildings;
- Fixing battens or tile supports and roof tiles;
- Installing concrete floor slabs or stairs;
- Working near or over fragile surfaces; and
- Working adjacent to voids in the roof and floor.
HSENI’s construction team are working hard with Northern Ireland’s construction industry to help prevent further internal falls but sadly this won’t be enough. A HSENI spokesperson said: “We need help from all aspects of industry to ensure our message #internalfallsarepreventable is spread far and wide to help prevent further fatalities.
“Therefore, we are asking Northern Ireland’s Construction Industry, Hire Stores and Building Merchants to join us and help prevent any further unavoidable falls by promoting this important campaign.”
HSENI have created new material for their Internal Falls Campaign including a poster and short video and are pleading with the industry to use and promote this material. This will not only help educate the industry and show them what they need to use to prevent them falling internally into a building under construction but also help prevent further fatalities.
Recognised methods of internal fall protection that can be hired or purchased throughout Northern Ireland are listed in the table below:
- Proprietary decking systems;
- Birdcage scaffold;
- Safety trellis (extendable aluminium trellis);
- Boarding out the inside of the roof using timber;
- Safety nets – so long as there is adequate clearance below and anchorage points which have been assessed by a competent person prior to the nets being installed;
- Inserting air bags/bean bags as soft landing systems; and
- Harnesses which should be the last option considered and only used by workers who have been trained in their use.
“Work at height will be a standing item on all construction inspections where relevant. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”
“HSENI would like to remind Northern Ireland’s Construction Industry that during this difficult time our hospitals and emergency services are stretched to capacity dealing with the unprecedented demand of Covid-19. We are urging people to think responsibly and use the correct equipment when working at height to ensure they do not become an incident requiring emergency treatment from ambulance staff and hospital staff because of an avoidable fall.”
HSENI Internal Falls video will be posted on their social media channels, watch out for it on Facebook and Twitter. To download the full video please visit HSENI YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HSENIvideo