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Posted: Monday 26th October 2020

When the HSE released its latest fatal accident figures in July, falls from height were once again the single biggest cause of workplace deaths in the UK (up 4% at 29%), and accounted for 8% of all workplace injuries.

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE What is significant in these figures isn’t the headline numbers though – falls from height have accounted for an average of 25% of all fatal injuries for the last five years, but the fact that so many of these incidents continue to occur at relatively low levels.

For most people, awareness of gravity and danger increases disproportionately as their height and exposure increase. When exposed and unguarded in elevated work environments, workers are generally acutely aware of the edge, the drop, the ground and the diligence required to stop themselves from falling. Unfortunately, as the latest figures reveal, workers are far less conscious of the risks associated with falls from heights of less than 4m, and yet this is where the biggest danger actually lies. In fact, more than two thirds of all major work at height injuries are now actually caused by low falls from 2m or below.

These are generally associated with short duration, irregular works involving commercial vehicles, industrial plant and machinery, which by their very nature make it difficult for employers to mitigate the risks. Guards, airbags and other passive counter measures can often prove impractical, while personal protective harnesses with connecting or self-retracting lanyards are also often unworkable because of a lack of anything to connect them to. Some workplaces will choose to fix an engineered fall protection anchorage system, such as an eyebolt or lifeline, but these are not always viable.

In these circumstances, a much more practical solution is to use a portable, overhead fall protection anchorage which can span the work area and be easily manoeuvred into position as and when required.

REID Lifting’s Porta Gantry range of portable lifting and lowering equipment has been fully tested and certified in accordance with the EN795: 2012 and TS16415: 2013 fall protection anchorage conformity requirements and offers employers a convenient, cost-effective fall protection system which minimises hassle and disruption.

Porta Gantries enable fall protection equipment to be securely anchored to a moveable trolley providing a working horizontal span of more than 8m and a foot height above ground level of 4m.

They are designed for simple 2-person assembly, typically in under 5 minutes, which removes any temptation for staff to cut corners and compromise safety in an effort to save time.

Used extensively in the water industry, they come with 360° swivel-locking castors which make them easy to move into and out of position. And, because they are compact and easy to adjust for height and span, they are also ideal for use in confined space applications.

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August 2021

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