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WARNING ON UNSAFE CONSTRUCTION ACCESS EQUIPMENT

Concern over ‘cheap inferior’ access products flooding the UK market

The Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association (PASMA) supported by HSE is warning users of low level access products e.g podium steps and folding room scaffolds, to make sure that bought or hired equipment meets at least the minimum standards of fall protection.

The warning  arises from concern about cheap, inferior products now flooding the UK market, without adequate guardrail system fitted as standard. Some 50,000 of these work at height tools have been sold in the UK and Ireland since 2004 and are widely used in the construction industry by a multitude of finishing trades.

Demand and lack of standard fuels unsafe equipment

Peter Bennett PASMA managing director said:

“In theory these products provide a compact, lightweight and protected work platform that represents a safe method of working at height, especially at low heights of 2.5 metres and below.

Unfortunately, whenever there is high demand for a product there is inevitably an opportunity for companies to offer deficient equipment which, in the absence of a minimum standard, can be marketed with impunity, thus exacerbating the already concerning accident statistics for low level work at height.”

PASMA is looking  to establish a minimum quality standard and is working with the British Standards Institute (BSI) on a publicly available specification (PAS).  It has also developed a new DVD/CD ‘Accidents can happen even at low level’.

Joy Jones  Head of the HSE Construction National Safety Team, said:

“We share the PASMA concern over this issue and welcome the initiative. Our inspectors have come across workers using products that do not meet minimum health and safety requirements.

Falls from height are a major cause of death and injury within the construction industry and duty holders must ensure they are complying with the law and protecting themselves and their workers.”

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