The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation trade body has called on Government to introduce important changes to the proposed Work at Height Regulation 2013.
To tighten up on safety standards, the scaffolding industry has called for the regulations to stipulate that scaffolders are ‘qualified’ rather than ‘competent’ as is now the case.
It argues the use of ambiguous terms ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ are flaws at the heart of the existing regulations allowing several types of safety approaches to proliferate.
In its response to the Löfstedt review, the NASC said the 2005 Work at Height Regulations had successfully increased awareness to both operatives and employers on the inherent risk when working at height, including what the requirements are to work safely and legally.
But it warned it had also created a ‘grey’ area because the term competence was open to interpretation.
NASC argues replacing the terms with the indisputable term ‘qualified’ put the industry on a much clearer footing.
It adds in a letter: “The work at height industry, including scaffolding can demonstrate clearly and accurately that an individual is ‘qualified’ by virtue of the fact that he has completed suitable training. The aptitude of the Scaffolder to continue to carry out his/her skilled works is also challenged every five years to ensure continued compliance.
“Scaffolding contracting companies are also able to be audited to ensure continued compliance/qualification via existing regulated protocol such as the NASC’s membership criteria which is already acknowledged by many clients and main contractors as the only method of determining scaffolding prowess that meets all current Scaffolding and Health & Safety legislation.”