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HSE REVIEW CONCLUDES NO PROBLEM WITH WAH REGULATIONS

Misinterpretation is main cause of difficulty with Work at Height Regulations

The HSE Board has considered the findings from HSE’s review of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). The independent review of health and safety legislation by Professor Löfstedt recommended that:

“The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the associated guidance should be reviewed by April 2013 to ensure that they do not lead to people going beyond what is either proportionate or beyond what the legislation was originally intended to cover”

HSE sought views from businesses and other stakeholders and examined correspondence, press articles, accident trends and statistics, available research and enforcement data and concluded that:

  • where problems remain with the application of WAHR they arise from misinterpretation rather than from the Regulations themselves and there is no compelling evidence to support regulatory change;
  • misinterpretation leads some to ‘go beyond’ legal requirements ;
  • some contractors and insurers appear to be demanding a greater level of compliance than strictly necessary e.g. to reduce the risk of civil litigation.
  • change to WAHR would come at a significant cost to business, would be highly controversial with some and might significantly increase risks at work.
Solutions recommended

The HSE board was asked to agree the following recommendations:

  • make no changes to the WAHR;
  • work collaboratively with others to simplify guidance;
  • produce new example risk assessments covering work at different heights;
  • use structured online questionnaires to test the usefulness of the revised guidance.

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