Plant & Works Engineering
Addressing working at height
Published:  08 July, 2011

The Access Industry Forum (AIF) Knowledge Base, taking place at the Safety & Health Expo from 17-19 May 2011, is back by popular demand after a successful launch last year. This year the Forum is sponsoring three distinct areas: the Working at Height Knowledge Base, Demonstration Area and Information Centre. In combination they will provide thought provoking comment, best practice advice and showcase the latest access equipment in action.
"Falls from height remain the most common kind of workplace injury and fatality”, says Peter Bennett for the AIF. “There is no room for complacency, which is why the Forum will again be focusing on safety, standards and best practice when it comes to working at height. In particular, this year's Knowledge Base represents a unique opportunity to hear thought provoking contributions from senior representatives of all the major UK health and safety organisations."
Knowledge Base highlights include panel discussions between representatives from organisations such as the HSE, IOSH, RoSPA, IIRSM & the British Safety Council. One such discussion will be a ground breaking session on the second day entitled ‘How to achieve the Holy Grail – no more working at height accidents – ever!’ featuring contributions from: AIF Chairman and PASMA MD, Peter Bennett; Nigel Bryson OBE of the British Safety Council and Bryson Consulting; Nick Johnson LLB representing the Health & Safety Executive; Barry Holt of the IIRSM; John A. Holden from IOSH and Roger Bibbings, Occupational Safety Adviser at RoSPA.
Another highlight is set to be ‘Design vs. Cost vs. Safety – Successful planning techniques to work at height’. Featuring contributions from AIF, the Association for Project Safety, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors this session will attempt to establish a happy medium between creative flair and safety at height.  While building specialists including the Chartered Institute of Building and UK Contractors Group will join forces to discuss how to best balance health and safety demands in ‘Maintaining effective WAH policies in a tough economic climate’.
A poignant reminder of the importance of health and safety procedure whilst working at height will be presented by Jason Anker who was paralysed from the waist down in an avoidable workplace incident. ‘The impact of my life after a fall – a victim’s perspective’ promises to have a powerful impact on those listening as Jason has been unable to openly discuss his experience until very recently.  Expect a raw and emotional talk taking us back to the day of this tragic incident.
The Information Centre will provide guidance on safety and practice from AIF member organisations together with details of the latest membership publications and training programmes. Running alongside the Information Centre and returning in a new format will be a dedicated Demonstration Area devoted to practical demonstrations of the latest access equipment and systems.  
Alongside these keynote sessions, member organisations of the Forum will talk about the latest developments in their respective specialisations. PASMA, the trade association representing the mobile access tower industry, will explain the findings of its year-long review into fall protection methods, and the Ladder Association will make clear the continuing role and relevance of ladders and stepladders in the workplace and the growing recognition for the need for professional ladder training.
IPAF will describe the latest developments in powered access and ask the question ‘Are your MEWPs safe?’ and NASC will talk about the recent developments in scaffolding guidance including SG4:10 and the new TG20:08 interactive guide.

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