The work practices of the industry were assessed against the Work at Height Regulations, which have been introduced in the UK in order to reduce the number of accidents and deaths caused by falls from height. These remain the single largest cause of fatalities in the workplace.
Surveys conducted at three outdoor events and two indoor events revealed a large variation in fall protection levels. Although examples of good practice were observed, many instances of bad practice were evident, where workers were inadequately protected from potential injury or death when working at height.
Although there was evidence that efforts had been made to avoid work at height by implementing alternative methods and introducing equipment, the review highlighted weaknesses in the management and control of work at height. In particular there was a failure to ensure workers were adequately trained and competent and that PPE in use was adequate and compliant with current legislation.
Amongst the most common issues encountered during the review was the use of work positioning PPE for fall arrest applications and the widespread use of unapproved PPE, including lanyards and lifelines. A fall protection PPE should be CE marked for the intended purpose under PPE Directive 89/686/EC.