BSIF Height Safety Group

BS 8681:2023 – Personal fall protection and access systems –Training and competence for manufacturing, system design, installation and inspection – Specification

This specification is currently under development and due to be published during mid to late 2023.
This Standard provides a complementary Standard to BS 7883:2019 for the purpose of providing the duty holder (which may include construction contractors, building managers or building owners & property professionals ) with the checks and balances to determine the competence and professionalism of a those manufacturers, designers, fabricators, installers and inspectors operating within the fall protection industry.
The duty holder or auditing organisation (Safety Schemes in Procurement – SSIP) may use this standard as part of their auditing process as the annexes provide a check list that auditors may adopt during an ISO accreditation audit of those involved in providing fall protection solutions.

The key features of BS 8681 include:
• The duty holder:
The duty holder has the right to expect that their property is designed, built, and maintained in a way that is safe. Persons who need to access and maintain parts of the property need to have confidence and trust in the providers responsible for manufacturing, specifying designing, installing and inspecting the access equipment and that safety is a priority.

• Competence:
Competence of all who provide services and products throughout the life of a building is key to achieving this outcome. This British Standard formulates minimum bench marking for duty holders and other interested parties to establish the capability and competence of those manufacturing, designing, installing and inspecting Personal Fall Protection Systems (PFPS).

• Behaviours:
The role of all involved in fall protection (i.e. the providers) is about behaviours as much as competency. The approach taken in BSI Flex 8670, which is reflected in this British Standard, is to embed behaviours in the functions, activities and tasks that are required to manage the provision of personal fall protection systems.

• The Functional Roles:
Each of the functional roles are defined with the requirements and responsibilities including competence and behaviours, to fulfil their roles. These are defined under the following headings:-
a) duty holders;
b) manufacturers;
c) system designers;
d) installers;
e) inspectors;
f) Assessor/Auditor
g) other interested parties, e.g. specifiers, architects and structural engineers, and those who are responsible for the design of safe access and egress on buildings and structures.

• Requirements:
There are a number of requirements within the Standard. A selection of just a few are listed below:
a) Competence
b) Supervision
c) Mentoring
d) Assessment
e) Process Audit
f) Management System
g) Record Keeping
h) Trainers
i) Assessment and certification of trainees on completion of the course
j) Minimum information to be given on the certificate, or other documentary evidence, issued for the course

• Annexes
To Assist the auditing process detailed annexes are being developed for the following:
a) Employee skills matrix for the manufacturers, system designers, installers, inspectors & user.
b) Business process matrix – This commences at the initial conversation concerning the process through to completion and required servicing beyond.
c) On-site operations and safety guidance.

• Public Consultation:
The chance to comment on this document is likely to be the summer of 2023. We urge all those within the fall protection industry to add their thoughts and comments and make this a world-class standard.
This Standard will complement BS 7883:2019 which is a best practice document used by industry which is widely considered to be the most important document relating to the installation and inspection of anchor systems, not only in the UK but also throughout the world.

Graham Willmott
BSIF (HSG) Chairman

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