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Safety first: Staying safe when working at height

working at height
Written by Roma Publications

Safety first: Staying safe when working at height


working at height
The NASC has launched its 2015 Safety Report – documenting accident statistics for all NASC full contracting member companies in 2014, covering 14,988 operatives, which constitutes a major proportion of the UK’s total scaffolding workforce.
NASC is the national trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK – producing industry guidance for scaffolding contractors, their operatives and their clients. All 200+ NASC full contracting members are required to submit a completed annual accident return as a requirement of membership, and the NASC Safety Report is based on data generated by this exercise. It features:

• Injuries and fatalities to operatives, members of the public and third parties.
• Accident causes and types.
• Detailed analysis of accidents.
• Comparison of HSE/NASC accident statistics.
• What the NASC does to support safe scaffolding practice.

In line with current HSE reporting procedures, the NASC 2015 Safety Report reports on seven day incidents only (as it is did in 2014). As such, the 2015 report appears to show a marked reduction in incidents, when compared with three day reporting, as detailed in the 2013 Safety Report and in previous years.

The 2015 NASC Safety Report shows another zero for fatal accidents within the membership. However, the total number of accidents reported by NASC members increased by 9% from 96 in 2013 to 105 in 2014. This corresponds to a 9% increase in the total number of member operatives, now up to 14,988.

The report also shows that there were 24 falls from height in 2014, with the highest reported fall being from 6m. Nine reported falls were from scaffolds or working platforms, of which were six from under 4m, with three falls at 4m or above, and seven falls were from ladders.
In 2014 the highest number of accidents occurred in the 21- 30 age group = 43 (41%) followed by the 41- 50 age group = 24 (23%). These two groups accounted for 64% of all accidents.

In age ranges 16 – 40, slips, trips and falls on the same level were the major cause of accidents (23), followed by falls from height (16), manual handling (13) and falls of materials (2).

In the 41+ age groups, slips, trips and falls on the same level (16) were also the major cause of accidents. These accidents follow a very similar pattern to those reported in the 2014 NASC Safety Report.

Slips, trips and falls on the same level totalled 39 incidents during 2014, which accounted for 37% of the total number of accidents recorded. These figures show a decrease of nearly 5% on the corresponding number of incidents reported in 2013.

NASC President, Kevin Ward said: “The annual report continues to demonstrate to the wider industry the continued commitment of NASC members when it comes to dealing with all matters Health and Safety related. It is therefore no surprise that continuous positive performance is evident in this latest set of statistics. These hard facts help to underpin the professional status for NASC regulated member companies.”

NASC Managing Director, Robin James added: “Once again, the annual NASC Safety Report has delivered positive numbers for the confederation membership and has provided engaging analysis, which can be used to raise standards and levels of safety in the scaffolding and access industry. We will be encouraging members to continue to work towards reducing accident figures.

“In addition to the Safety Report, the NASC Health and Safety Committee has asked members about any aspects they would like considered in the current review of its core Health and Safety guidance, SG4. Work is under-way on the update, SG4:15, set to launch in the Autumn. And new Slips Trips and Falls guidance and other new and revised safety publications will launch in 2015.”

To obtain a digital PDF copy of the NASC 2015 Safety Report please visit or contact NASC directly for a hard copy. And to obtain details about becoming an NASC member and to find out more about the NASC, the scaffolding industry trade body, visit or email:

With headquarters in the Netherlands, XSPlatforms specialise in the manufacture of suspended platforms and scaffolding systems for the construction industry. Initially founded as a Dutch company, XSPlatforms has been in operation for 20 years and has offices all around the world, including the UK, Australia, North- & South America, China, Spain, the Philippines, India, Kuwait, Dubai and Doha.

XSPlatforms has been manufacturing scaffolding and suspended platforms for the past five years, whilst it has manufactured façade access equipment and fall arrest systems for 20 years. The company has the knowledge and capabilities to provide safety at any height and does so through an innovative product range, which is backed by product expert training and support.

Product Manager of Scaffolding Systems and Suspended Platforms, Willem Piekaar, said:
“At XSPlatforms we provide our customers with innovation and safety, which has so far enabled us to live up to our vision of becoming the world’s leading provider of services related to working at height. We provide a one-stop shop which is ideal for anyone requiring expert advice or an expert product.”
Willem added:
“We purposely design and build our scaffolding systems to keep our customers safe and happy. And strive to remain the frontrunner of safety at height. The key to our success is word of mouth and we haven’t had a complaint yet. We have a zero accident track record and this is something which we are very proud of.”

For more information about XSPlatforms, please visit:

The International Powered Access Federation, otherwise known as IPAF is an organisation which promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment through providing technical advice and information through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards and through its safety initiatives and training programmes.

The not-for-profit organisation is owned entirely by its members; consisting of manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users worldwide. Since being set up in 1983, IPAF has represented the interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, rental and training companies serving as a forum for all powered access. IPAF has played a key role in promoting many of the design, safety and testing procedures which are now well established in the powered access industry.

IPAF, owned by its members, runs a scheme for members boasting several benefits. The organisation has connections with a plethora of companies working in and around the construction industry. Membership of IPAF is open to users of platforms, manufacturers, distributors, rental and training companies. Currently, the majority of members come from Europe and America; however the organisation does have members in the Middle East, Far East and the Pacific.

Meanwhile, PASMA is the world’s leading trade association for the mobile access tower industry. Representing the interests of manufacturers, suppliers, specifiers and users, it delivers and oversees the industry standard training scheme and is a major publisher of safety-related knowledge, information and guidance.

Liaising closely with all the key regulatory authorities and standards-setting bodies in the work at height sector, PASMA is the voice of the industry and, as such, plays a leading role in promoting best practice. The association advances safety, standards and best practice across a wide range of sectors and represents the interests of manufacturers.

PASMA is a self-financing association, which strives to help, shape and support the future of the industry. PASMA works in collaboration with a number of trade and professional bodies, as well as industry regulators and key decision makers.

PASMA Managing Director, Peter Bennett, said:
“The association is committed to delivering world-class support to all corners of the industry. Providing practical skills and knowledge are central to meeting this objective.”

For more information on IPAF please visit and for more information about PASMA, please visit:

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