Dave Hulme uses a harness to carry out maintenance work to the outside of the 158-metre-high tourist attraction, and is giving his support to the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) Shattered Lives campaign
Slips, trips and falls caused 1,155 serious injuries to workers in Lancashire last year, and are the most common cause of major workplace injury in Great Britain. HSE is urging employers and workers to take simple steps to reduce the risk of being injured.
Dave, who works for Cumbrian engineering company MP Marine, started work at Blackpool Tower in 1983 and now oversees its maintenance. He came face to face with HSE Inspector Allen Shute from the underside of the 'Walk of Faith' glass floor to give his support to the Shattered Lives campaign.
'When they were installing the glass floor just over a decade ago, we had to work out how we'd be able to clean under it safely. I seemed to end up being given the job. I use a harness and then just clean it like you would a window.
'I often get some funny looks when I'm hanging under the floor if people are standing on top of it at the time. I've also been known to get a round of applause when I come back up.
'People seem to think it's a dangerous job, but working 150 metres above the ground isn't really any more dangerous than working 15 metres above the ground. You just need to make sure you use the right safety equipment.
'I hope HSE's Shattered Lives campaign makes people think more about preventing slips, trips and falls in their workplaces.'
Allen Shute added:
'No one would dream of doing a job like Dave's without using the proper safety equipment. But hundreds of workers are injured every year in falls from just a few metres above the ground.
'Hundreds of workers in Lancashire were injured from slips, trips and falls last year. They might sound funny but they shatter the lives of thousands of British workers ever year.
'Making improvements doesn't need to cost the earth and we are encouraging people to visit the Shattered Lives website, where they will be able to get simple and cost-effective solutions to help manage slip, trip and fall hazards in their workplace.
'Dave knows he's safe when he's working more than 150 metres above the ground at the top of Blackpool Tower because he's held securely in a harness. I hope other people working less high up will start thinking more about the risks they face.'
As well as the tragic human cost, preventable slips, trips and falls are having a serious financial impact on the UK. HSE estimates that the combined financial costs incurred by society as a whole is around £800 million a year, at a time when both businesses and individuals are struggling financially following the recession.
In response, HSE has launched a new phase of its Shattered Lives campaign, aimed at reducing slips, trips and falls in the workplace. The hard-hitting campaign involves raising awareness of the impact of slips, trips and falls in the workplace and directing people to the new Shattered Lives website at www.hse.gov.uk/shatteredlives for practical advice and guidance.
The campaign is targeted at those sectors where there are a high number of slips, trips and falls each year. Specifically, health and social care, education, food manufacturing, food retail, catering and hospitality, building and plant maintenance, and construction are being targeted.
On the new campaign website, people will be able to find out information on how they can easily, and cost effectively, reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace, and see what other organisations, such as Sainsbury's and First Line Digital, have done.
Included on the site are online guides to preventing slips and trips, and working safely at height. Advice ranges from how to deal with spills and other slip risks, to the importance of using ladders correctly to reduce the risk of falling from height.