20.12.2006

The case against Harness Law

We asked yesterday in a report on the PAIG action committee to call for harnesses to be a legal requirement on boom lifts, for some views from those among the 100 or so respondents that voted against mandating harness use in our on line poll.

We have received today our first response (printable response) in which a service engineer makes a logical and reasoned argument against a blanket law. His email is printed in full below.

Re not wearing harnesses

The service engineers that I work with and the ones that I know at other companies, all agree that wearing harnesses in our own yard/test area is a No, but on site we all use them in booms but not scissors.

When working the machines in the yard they have already been tested through all cycles from the ground and examined during the PDI before we go elevated.

There are no curbs to 'fall off', no vehicles to strike the platform and there is no reason to get into a partial tip situation as the ground situation is known and secure. Unlike the operator on site who probably only leaves the basket 2 or 3 times in a shift we are constantly in and out of baskets, walking around the depot/machines and find the lanyard becomes a trip/fall hazard.

Perhaps our freedom to choose should remain in the depots but not on site. Please don’t encourage the 'nanny state' to make blanket decisions, but consider a silent minority that have to try work in an industry that is demanding.

We work with more and more PPE, regardless of the work we are carrying out. eg wearing hard hat, eye protection, Hi-Viz jacket, long sleeves, gloves and all while trying to change wires on a starter motor when you have crawled in the 18 inch space under a scissor platform on top of the engine compartment, behind the guards with your arm down the back of the engine, in 90 degree temperatures, in an area where no vehicles can approach - due to trenches on two sides, a wall 30 feet high with a canopy on another side and the van on the remaining side. No cranes in the area and no one else working within 40 feet but the safety officer demands to know why I am not wearing my PPE, as it is hanging on the rails & he is going to get me banned from all the contractors site!

This is where My e-mail turns into a general moan.

What ever happened to 'you are your own safety officer'. some of the site safety officers are ‘jobsworths’ that will not listen to reason and follow the rules made by someone hundreds of miles away who has not visited the particular site and will not consider special situations where wearing PPE makes the job more hazardous.

This not only applies to the access industry but to all construction equipment engineers.

I hope this helps you see the engineers point of view, please note if we are not happy with our situation we can still wear an harness at our own choice.

Name withheld at correspondents request.

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