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Work at height regulations

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Work at heights is work in any place, including a place at, above or below ground level, where a person could be injured if they fell.

Access and egress to a place of work can also be work at height. The work at height regulations under the h
Health and Safety acts place an onus on employers to ensure that the work is properly planned and organised.

In advance of starting work, each situation should be assessed to determine the best method for obtaining access to the elevated position where the work needs to done.

These are the main factors you should take into consideration during this assessment:

* How long do you estimate the activity will take?
* How complex is the task?
* How many component parts need to be handled?
* How big and heavy are they?
* How high above ground level is the work be done?
* How much moving around horizontally will be necessary at an elevated position?
* What kind of access equipment is available?
* Is any additional equipment required for safe and economic working?
* Is it necessary to use a hydraulic platform?
* Are suitably trained and experienced personnel available?
* How much supervision will be required?

The work method must be discussed with all personnel and documented in a method statement.

The equipment to be considered could include:

* Trestles
* Ladders
* Hydraulic working platforms
* Mobile tower scaffolds
* Safety harnesses

All equipment should be inspected prior to use and used only in accordance with the standard operating procedures. Items such as hydraulic working platforms should only be used by trained personnel. All equipment should be included in the risk assessment documents and signed off by all users in the method statement.

The risk assessment should include a careful examination of what harm could be caused from working at height with a view to taking the effective steps to reduce the likelihood of this harm occurring, either through avoiding the activity or, where this is not reasonably practicable, by carrying it out in a safe manner using work equipment that is appropriate to the task and the level of risk.

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Cost of agricultural land set to increase by 8% this year

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY The results of a survey on agricultural land values conducted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) was published earlier this week. […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

The results of a survey on agricultural land values conducted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) was published earlier this week.

It predicts an increase in land values by an average of 8% this year and an increase of 14% on average in rental values.

The report titled, ‘SCSI/Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review & Outlook Report 2023’, analyses the agri sector performance over the past year and projects how it will perform over the next 12 months.

In all 134 agri professionals and valuers were surveyed, who expect the outlook for dairy farmers to ease and a challenging future for sheep and tillage farming.

Rental Land values in Munster increased by an average of 13% in the last year with a 9% increase experienced in Leinster.

The report indicates that the average non-residential farmland prices in 2022 ranged from €5,564 per acre for poor quality land – up five percent from €5,308 in 2021 – to €11,172 per acre for good quality land – up two percent from €10,962 the previous year. Strong demand from dairy farmers for good quality land is driving the market.

The majority of those surveyed believe there is likely to be an increase in demand from dairy farmers to purchase farmland in 2023.

One point to note however, is that changes to the European Nitrates Directive, particularly measures aimed at protecting water quality, may have an impact on land prices, especially rental prices.

In order to maintain current levels of milk production – and to comply with the directive – many dairy farms will need to either increase their land area or reduce milk production.

The Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) is also coming down the line at an alarming rate, farmers have until May 1 to make a written appeal. Under the new legislation farmers owning currently zoned land face an annual tax bill of 3% of the market value of their zoned land.

This will result in countless numbers of landowners facing crippling tax bills from next year on. It is expected that this new tax may bring forward extra land sales later this year before the tax takes hold.

The IFA (Irish Farmers Association) have this week sought a senior counsel review of the legislation governing the Residential Zoned Land Tax.

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What is a Fire Safety Certificate?

By John Healy of Healy Insurances A Fire Safety Certificate is an official document that verifies if a building design submitted as part of an application will, if constructed in […]

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By John Healy of Healy Insurances

A Fire Safety Certificate is an official document that verifies if a building design submitted as part of an application will, if constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications approved by the Building Control Authority, comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations.

Fire Safety Certificates are issued by a Building Control Authority. The certificate confirms that the building has adequate escape facilities and that the building is designed in a way that prevents and limits the spread of fire. While all buildings must comply with the fire regulations, not all buildings will need a Fire Safety Certificate.

Which developments require a Fire Safety Certificate?

The Building Control Act (1990 & 2007) specifies the development types that require Fire Safety Certificates:

· Works in connection with the design and construction of a new building
· Works in connection with the material alteration of a day centre, a building containing a flat, a hotel, hostel or guest building, an institutional building, a place of assembly, a shopping centre
· Works in connection with the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where additional floor area is being provided within the existing building or where the building is being sub-divided into a number of units for separate occupancy
· Works in connection with the extension of a building by more than 25 square metres
· A building as regards which a material change of use takes place.

Some developments are exempted from requiring a Fire Certificate and can include:

· Certain single storey agricultural buildings
· A building used as a dwelling (other than a flat)
· A single storey domestic garage
· A single storey building ancillary to a dwelling which is used exclusively for recreational or storage purposes or the keeping of plants, birds or animals for domestic purposes and is not used for any trade or business or for human habitation
· Works in connection with a Garda station, a courthouse, a barracks and certain government buildings.

If a building is inspected by a member of the building control authority and it transpired that no Fire Safety Certificate is in place, the building could be subject to closure. For more information see www.kerrycoco.ie/home3/building-control/firesafetycerts.

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