Talking Ground Level Testing with Hycontrol

Published July 2019

Slips, trips and falls continue to pose significant workplace safety issues. Should they take place at height then the danger is significant. In the UK, statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show that falls from height accounted for 29% of all fatal injuries in the workplace, with 39 fatalities and 6,521 injuries in the year 2013-2014 alone. Silos are a classic example of the dangers of working at height: besides the sheer height and difficulties of accessing the silo top, they are usually outdoors which puts workers at risk from slippery surfaces, high winds, harsh weather and a range of other dangers.

Additionally, the ageing workforce further complicate matters – according to a 2015 report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, approximately 35% of workers in the UK’s mining/quarrying sector and 33% of workers in the construction industry are aged 50 or older. This trend is also reflected in a wide range of other industries, and appears far from exclusive to the UK.


Whilst older workers are likely to be more at risk of health complications arising whilst on site, the fact is that workers of any age are at risk when required to work in difficult-to-access locations like silo-tops. Managers are required to consider any potential hazards that may arise when workers are climbing up, on top of, or climbing down a silo. Thorough risk assessments are essential, considering the condition of ladders, guard rails and cages, as well as the integrity of the silo roof. But there are many other risks that should be looked at.

For example: what will happen if a worker falls and injures themselves working at height? Or, what will happen if a worker suffers a heart attack, heat stroke or a sprained ankle whilst on top of a silo? These potential problems must be considered. There is clear guidance stating that all sites must have a rescue plan in place for safely bringing stricken personnel down, which must be carried out by personnel on site. Employers should not rely on calling for external assistance as injured or sick staff members will require immediate help. Any delay may prove critical to their health.

Talking Ground Level Testing with Hycontrol

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