• Gary Clarkson

It's a long way from the top if you want a sausage roll.

Something which has been intriguing me for some time now is the innate ingenuity of people to come up with weird and wonderful solutions to problems; whilst ignoring tried and tested ways of doing things. Invariably resulting in “oh sh!t” moments at best.

A lot of these Heath Robinson approaches involve working at height and I thought I would share some of the interesting things I have seen over the years.

I wonder what the guys on the ground are thinking.

Competition time

The best caption for the Tui picture on the left will win one of my hand crafted wooden bowls. Closes Friday 21 December.

An Oldie, but a goodie

How did he get there?

But its not just here in New Zealand that people do inherently dumb things.

Here’s a story from the old country which demonstrates that Darwin is far from dead.

"A family-owned and run farming business has been fined after an employee sustained severe injuries following a fall from height.

On 29 November 2017, Alan Twatt (Potatoes) Limited asked an employee to install an electric cable through four barns at a height of approximately four metres. A potato box lifted by a forklift was used as a working platform. The worker fell approximately 2.5-3.5 metres and suffered a head injury as well as multiple fractures………..Alan Twatt (Potatoes) Limited of Commerce House, South Street, Elgin, Moray pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Banff and has been fined £40,000.

If that isn't an aptonym I don't know what is.

In all seriousness though, working at height is an inherently dangerous activity, and one which I believe is taken far too lightly by some.

Worksafe NZ has some great resources available to help you figure out the best way to carry out work at height.

You should be looking at competence of the person doing the work, particularly where mobile elevated work equipment or work involving harnesses are concerned. Ask to see the workers ticket or certificate of competence. If they cannot show you it, or it's out of date, find someone else or wait until they can show you valid evidence. At the end of the days s the person engaging them its down to you.

If you need to use a scaffold, use a reputable scaffolding contractor, preferably one who is recognised by SARNZ. If you are using mobile scaffold under 5m its ok to have your people build them — but only if they have been trained. The number of times I have seen mobiles built with components upside down or just not installed is scary. Why take the risk?

Stepladders are ok, but platform steps allow the worker to do the job easier, quicker and definitely safer. Don't forget working above the second top steps step-ladders is not acceptable.

For that reason, three-step stepladders are pointless and its time we banished them from our workplaces.

Fundamentally keeping people safe while working at height is down to using competent people and ensuring the correct equipment is available and used.

It makes good business sense not to risk los and damage by shortcutting either of those things.

If you need some advice on the next steps to take (no pun intended) please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Don't forget to get your competition entries in to me before next Friday.

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