According to statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height were the most common cause of fatalities, accounting for 29% of fatal injuries to workers in 2013 to 2014.

In total there were 5952 fatal, major or over seven day RIDDOR reportable accidents reported during this same period as a result of working from height.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) apply to any employer or person that controls work at height (for example a contractor or a factory owner) and their purpose is to prevent death and injury from a fall from height.

Work at height means work in any place where, without precautions, a person could fall a distance liable to cause injury. For example, someone who loads materials on or off the vehicle bed of a commercial vehicle.

The HSE recommends that we take a sensible approach when considering precautions for working at height. The law recognises that there are some low-risk situations where common sense tells you no precautions are necessary. However, the regulations advise working through some simple steps before working at height.

This is where work equipment, such as mechanical handling devices can help. A simple and common task such as manually loading goods on and off a pickup bed is classed as working from height and therefore should be avoided.

Summarising, this means that if as an employer you supply mechanical handling equipment such as a hydraulic crane, then employees are legally obliged to use this equipment when suitable to do so.

The supply of mechanical handling equipment such as a hydraulic crane should help give employers peace of mind that they are fulfilling their duty of care to employees by putting steps in place to avoid accidents as a result of working from height and it's helpful to know that the law supports this by stating that employees must use the equipment.

The Maxilift Hydraulic Crane range from Penny Hydraulics is lightweight and user-friendly, making it the ideal solution for light commercial vehicles. Suitable for pick-ups and trucks, the range includes models between 0.5 and 5.1 tm lifting capacity and offers optional extras and accessories including stabiliser legs, high-speed hoists and radio remote controls.

Jessica Penny is general manager sales at Penny Hydraulics.