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Social housing and working safely at Height with Highwire


It is no secret that there is an alarming social housing crisis throughout the UK right now. With more than a million households currently on waiting lists for adequate social housing (a number that is steadily on the rise), the need for immediate action is becoming increasingly crucial. In fact, several reports indicate more than an 80% increase in the number of households waiting on social housing availability since 1997. So how exactly are these housing associations dealing with this crisis, while still ensuring that safety standards are being met?

Housing Associations are overwhelmed by both housing needs and the height safety requirements needed to maintain them

Addressing the current social housing crisis has unsurprisingly led to many housing associations being forced to take on massively large portfolios of properties, often without knowing exactly what type of housing they have, or what to even expect in terms of height safety issues. This often leads to several uncertainties as to the test/certification status, as well as the “fitness for purpose” of some height safety system installations.

With housing associations being responsible for every aspect when it comes to the safety of individuals charged with carrying out maintenance on properties (often subcontractors), it is vital that health and safety standards are both up to date and strictly adhered to. Keeping up with the ever-changing health and safety standards can prove to be an overwhelming task, especially considering that it is dealing specifically with the preservation of human lives. This is primarily the reason why many of today’s housing associations are relying on thorough Height-Safety audits to not only identify potential height-safety hazards but also find solutions to maintain good standards as well.

Highwire – helping to ease the burden

Highwire specialises in carrying out Height-Safety audits for numerous housing associations by creating detailed records (both written and photographic) of what height safety equipment is currently installed, to offer insight and support on how existing safety equipment can be both improved and enhanced.

In addition to assessing and reporting on the Height-Safety status of portfolio properties, installed equipment requires regular testing to ensure that it meets stringent height safety standards. This is why Highwire implements a re-test schedule for all safety equipment to ensure the safety of anyone who will be using or maintaining such equipment. We also apply recertification schedules that are both set up and managed by us to ensure that safety equipment is “in-test” as well as having valid certification.

Continued assessment and maintenance

Height safety involves far more than safety fittings and fixings to buildings, however. Increasingly, housing associations are encouraged to provide PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)– including equipment such as safety harnesses – alongside the safety fixings on site. This is vital for emergency repairs where a subcontractor may not have the correct PPE to hand, but also saves in terms of costs as it improves the efficiency of maintenance visits – meaning subcontractors don’t have to return again with more equipment.

Highwire not only adheres to all of the current height safety requirements – we feel we consistently exceed them by providing recertification schedules that are both implemented and managed exclusively by our team, as well as offering expert advice on carrying out practical and realistic solutions for each client’s unique needs.

We have been able to provide businesses, not just in the housing sector, with the most workable and practical height safety solutions by forming and maintaining trusted and long-term relationships with each and every one of our valued clients.

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