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Ensure you are working safely at height

Falls when working at height remain the most common kind of workplace fatality.

HSE's annual fatality statistics reported that there were 40 fatal injuries caused by falling from height in 2022/23.

'Work at height' means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury (for example a fall through a fragile roof).

First assess the risks, considering the:

  • height of the task

  • duration and frequency

  • condition of the surface being worked on

Before working at height follow these simple steps:

  • avoid work at height where it's reasonably practicable to do so

  • where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment

  • where the risk cannot be eliminated, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the right type of equipment

For each step, consider measures that protect everyone at risk (collective protection such as scissor lifts or tower scaffolds) before measures that only protect the individual (personal protection such as a safety harness).

When working at height you should:

  • do as much work as possible from the ground

  • ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height

  • ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly

  • take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces

  • provide protection from falling objects

  • consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures

To prevent accidents and injuries do not:

  • overload ladders – consider the equipment or materials workers are carrying before working at height. Check the pictogram or label on the ladder for information

  • overreach on ladders or stepladders

  • rest a ladder against weak upper surfaces, for example glazing or plastic gutters

  • use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks, only use them for light work of short duration (a maximum of 30 minutes at a time)

  • let anyone who is not competent (who doesn't have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job) work at height

Employers can take simple, practical measures to reduce the risk of any of their workers falling while working at height.

Every employer has a duty to manage the health and safety of those they employ or those who may be affected by their undertakings. Ensure risks are assessed, and take action where it has been identified that control measures are needed.

If you require Working at Height training don't hesitate to get in contact:

01782 438813

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