Work at Height - European Legislation
Awareness of the dangers of working at height has become more focused throughout Europe with the introduction of Directives such as 2001/45/EC implemented by the European Parliament and Council concerning minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment. Each Member State has introduced National legislation over past few years, in order to comply with such Directives. In the UK the Work at Height Regulations of 2005 and as amended in 2007 were implemented.
Great steps have been made to ensure the safety of workers undertaking dangerous but often essential work at height, although unfortunately, the number of fatalities that occur in this sector each year remains the highest consistently throughout the world.
Fall Protection systems are generally designed to protect workers working at height whilst the required tasks are carried out, but all too often, access is over looked, even though the risk exposure at this point is at its highest. Ladder cages and vertical fall arrest systems are common control methods, but are these enough? What happens once the user is off the ladder?
EN 14122-4 Standard
EN 14122 – Safety of machinery – permanent means of access to machinery – Part 4 – Fixed Ladders, states that:
“To prevent falling through the access opening at arrival areas the opening shall be provided with a gate“. The EN 14122 standard also specifies that the gate should meet the following requirements:
- Opening direction of this gate shall not be towards the edge of the drop (outwards);
- Gate shall be designed so, that it can be opened easily;
- Gate shall close automatically, e. g. by means of springs or the effects of gravity;
- Gate shall have at least a handrail and a knee rail according to relevant requirements of EN ISO 14122-3.
The standard also states that at “drop edges of arrival areas”, a guardrail should be provided at least 1.5m either side of the ladder, or if the drop edge is less than 3m in length, then one should protect the entire edge.
Guardrail Kit For Ladder Access Points
The Kee Safety guardrail kit for ladder access points is specifically designed to meet the EN 14122-4 standard, and has been independently tested to check its conformity. Our KEEGUARD Ladder Kit provides free-standing roof guardrail at 1.5m either side of the ladder and a self-closing swing gate for safe access onto the roof for maintenance and inspection teams.
Safety gates and guardrails are also required at ground level to comply with legislation and to protect people from hazards. Safety gates and guardrails may provide demarcation and safe routes of access for temporary and permanent applications within industrial and commercial environments.