Arbeidstilsynet conducted a crackdown across the country on work at height in the construction industry. “It happens that too many falling accidents are in connection with working at height. To get employers to take safety seriously, the Labor Inspection have now, in several cases, imposed a penalty” says Director of Labor Inspection, Trude Vollheim Webb.
In 2016 Arbeidstilsynet investigated nearly 3,500 businesses in the construction industry. Over 500 of these found work stopped because of the imminent danger to the lives and health, most because of dangerous work at height.
“This is too much, despite the fact that the Labor Inspectorate for many years has responded to such employment. Therefore, we’ve been forced to adopt stronger reactions on a large scale” says director Vollheim Webb.
Supervision throughout Norway
At week 22 and 23 the Labor Inspectorate carried out inspections of construction sites in the country, with special focus on making sure that work at height takes place in a legal and safe manner. On supervision, the inspectors checked if the employer has conducted a risk assessment for work at height, and whether the employer has ensured that the work that is higher than two meters are secured by collective protective measures, such as scaffolding and railings.
“Scaffolding, ladders and access to the ceiling are typical conditions which will be examined. Where we see that they are working at height without protection or with inadequate protection, we will reach an even greater degree to consider whether we should give fines. The aim of this is to prevent accidental falls” says Vollheim Webb.
High risk of serious injury
Violations of the regulations on working at height is extremely reprehensible and serious, and the risk of serious injury is great. Businesses that violate the regulations can therefore now expect to be met with even harsher reactions. A fee for a breach of safety regulations for working at heights will normally be at least 50 000.
The potential for damage is the crucial element when Arbeidstilsynet is considering the size of the fee. If the company has previously received responses to similar conditions, it is aggravating. When Labor Inspection is considering the size of the fee, we will also take into account the company’s finances, but the bad economy is no reason to let employees work dangerous.
“We will use violation fines where necessary. Those employers that saves money because they do not safeguard the security well enough, are now at an even greater risk of getting a violation charge” saying Vollheim Webb.
Facts about violation charge:
- The Labor Inspection Authority violation charge by unacceptable conditions and serious violations of the Working Environment Act and regulations.
- Fees vary in size by including severity, corporate finance and if there are repeated violations.
- The fees have an upper limit of 15 G (about 1.4 million kroner).