HSE inspections - asbestos and working at height

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Are you managing risks from asbestos and from working at height?

The HSE is currently part way through a targeted 500 farm inspection programme. The aim of the HSE is to target priority topics and promote key messages that address some of the main causes of death and ill health in agriculture.

Inspections have already taken place looking at potato harvesting and the poultry sector.  The focus is now moving on to building maintenance and repair with a focus on asbestos management and working at height. Inspections could take place across all farming sectors.

Asbestos - what you need in place

  1. An asbestos management plan. Farmers should have an up to date asbestos management plan in place. A brief guide to HSE guidance on asbestos management is available here. One thing to check is who the duty holder is on tenanted farms – the land lord or the tenant.
  2. Make sure that all persons who need to know about the presence of asbestos have been made aware. Consider labelling of asbestos containing materials where appropriate.
  3. Is information available for contractors to know about the management plan and the location of asbestos containing materials?
  4. Knowledge of the condition of asbestos containing materials. Are plans and actions in place to manage deteriorating materials?

Guidance on asbestos management is available from the HSE here and in the NFU business guide 164. An example management plan is available here.

Work at height – what you need in place

  1. Fragile roof signs at all likely access points.
  2. Professional not domestic ladders in good condition. Ladders in with missing feet, damaged rings or struts should not be used.
  3. Access to height – if a telehandler is used it must only be used with a man cage and by a machine with an anti-tilt lock off.
  4. Lifting cages must be constructed to the right specification in line with HSE guidance see PM28 . Tilt, side shift and chassis or mast levelling functions on telehandlers must not be capable of operating whilst a lifting platform is elevated.
  5. Non-integrated platforms on telehandlers reaching above 6m should not be used. Alternative measures are required for access to heights above 6m.
  6. Edge protection and means to prevent a fall when working on a roof are required.
  7. LOLER regulations must be followed. Equipment must be regularly examined, well maintained and suitable for the purpose intended. Operators of lifting equipment must be adequately trained in line with the HSE Code of Practice ‘Rider Operated Work Equipment’. Three stage training is required under the code with basic training provided by qualified trainers.
  8. Records of training are required.
  9. Workers should not ride on trailers to level loads without fall prevention measures.

Guidance on work at height is available from the HSE here.

Members can obtain further information on asbestos management and work at height from CallFirst on 0370 845 8458. If members require assistance with risk management services they can contact their local NFU office and speak to their Group Secretary.

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