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Attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height

19/12/23 - APPG on Working at Height – 12 December 2023 Last week I had the privilege of attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height at the UK Parliament. This event brought together industry leaders, stakeholders, and political figures to promote a safer work environment for those working at height. As an employee of PASMA, I felt privileged to participate in this important gathering and witness the collective effort to address this critical issue.

The APPG on Working at Height

Falls from height are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, highlighted in recent statistics by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The APPG on Working at Height brings awareness of these issues to MPs and the Government to advocate change in our industry to make work at height safer for all those who use towers. This group is supported by the Access Industry Forum (AIF), which represents the ten principal not-for-profit work-at-height specialist industry bodies, one of which is PASMA.

A driving force for change

At this APPG meeting, I saw the APPG chair, Alison Thewliss MP, introduce a range of speakers who highlighted the challenges they faced in making working at height safer. Among them were Stephen Green, HM inspector of health and safety at the Health and Safety Executive, Sarah Batchelor, the farm safety & transport advisor from the National Farmers Union (NFU), Luke Collins, national safety officer for Unite the Union, and Hannah Williams, charity manager from the No Falls Foundation. Additionally, Clive Dickin, CEO at NASC, Tony Seddon, managing director FASET and Peter Bennett OBE, our managing director at PASMA, all spoke about the role that technology plays in improving the industry and how technology like virtual reality (VR) can be pivotal in making work at height safer for all those who use towers.

Demonstrating our VR technology

Towards the end of the meeting, Peter also highlighted that we had brought our VR kit and encouraged participants to try it. This is where I had the opportunity to present PASMA’s innovative VR experience that offered participants a realistic simulation of working at height. Here participants could choose to climb to the top platform of a mobile access tower with or without guardrails and unfortunately, those who opted to work unsafely would experience a virtual fall from height. The aim of this was to highlight the severe consequences of working at height in an unsafe manner.

Reflecting on my experience at the APPG on Working at Height

While listening to each speaker I witnessed their passion for making work at height safe. Throughout the meeting, it became evident that a proactive approach is necessary to implement effective safety measures. It was also great to see many PASMA members in attendance, including PASMA’s chairman Steve Booker (Kentec Training) and deputy chairman Charles Wright (Lakeside Industries Limited), who came to this meeting to support the cause of making work at height safer for all those who use towers. The meeting also served as a reminder that real change happens when concerned individuals, organisations and government collaborate, share knowledge, and work together towards common objectives. I am inspired to take the lessons learned from this gathering and apply them to my work, to promote safe working at height in the mobile access towers industry. In conclusion, I would like to thank the chair of the APPG Alison Thewliss MP, her team and the speakers for allowing me to attend the APPG on Working at Height. It was a privilege that allowed me to witness the collective commitment to prioritising safety and driving positive change. This article was written by Justin Oxenham, Marketing & Communications Assistant at PASMA