The AIF (Access Industry Forum), which comprises nine of the UK's leading trade associations and federations involved in working at height, has responded to Lord Young's review of health and safety legislation.

Lord Young, former UK Conservative politician and previously Trade and Industry Secretary was appointed to review the UK health and safety culture.

In a letter to Lord Young, the AIF makes the point that as falls from height remain the single biggest contributor to deaths and injuries in the workplace, it welcomes any serious, informed and balanced review of the issues arising from the implementation of the existing legislation.

In undertaking the review, the Forum asks Lord Young to give due regard to the following:

1. The need for a clear, unambiguous definition of the word 'competence' as used in the Work at Height Regulations;

2. The need to establish the link between training and competency by advocating the need for all users of access equipment, irrespective of type, to be professionally trained to a recognised standard (including familiarisation where necessary), based on agreed work procedures;

3. The need to introduce a formal system of accreditation whereby all users of access equipment must produce formal and independent proof of training.

The Forum goes on to say that whilst any review that speeds, simplifies and improves the effectiveness of legislation must be welcomed, it must not pamper to popular prejudices and myths and thus undermine its ability to save workers from death and injury.

Neil Tomlinson, a director of the Forum said, "Since the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations significant progress has been made in increasing safe working whilst at height. However, improvements can be made that reduce accidents in a more effective manner without more regulation."

In making its submission the Forum formally acknowledges its support for the work and role of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and its significant and measurable contribution over the years to reducing deaths, injuries and ill health in the workplace.

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