The Work at Height Regulations (2005) are in place to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. If you’re an employer or are in charge of working at height, then it is your responsibility to ensure that the work being done is safe in accordance with legislation. 

By following these regulations, you safeguard your staff, provide a safe working environment and stay compliant. 

 

What are the hazards when Working at Height? 

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm and this definition applies no matter the height you are working at; even if you’re working on the first rung of a ladder, you’ll still be subject to working at height regulations

Roof work, in particular, is high risk, with falls from roofs, through fragile roofs and roof lights being some of the most common causes of death and serious injury; however, there are many other hazards to be aware of, including:

  • Ladders 
  • Overhead cranes
  • Sewers
  • Machinery maintenance
  • Steel erection

When working at height, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all hazards have been identified and (where practical), the appropriate control measures have been put in place.

 

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What is a control measure?

A control measure refers to anything that’s put in place to reduce the risk of falling and subsequently, injury or death. If you’re in charge of working at height, you should always take into consideration collective protection (measures that keep everyone safe) before considering the personal protection of the individual doing the work. To decide what control measures you need to take, you should undertake a full risk assessment; which will highlight all possible hazards and how best to mitigate them.

Examples of common hazards and their suitable control measures include:

  • Ladders

Where the hazard is a ladder, a fall arrest system may be suitable. These systems will protect the operator if they fall, by shortening the overall distance and shielding them from the intense shock of the arrest. 

  • Open roof-tops

As a common hazard, there are many suitable measures to take when concerned with open roof-tops. If the area is used frequently, then a guard rail would be appropriate in the interest of collective safety. Alternatively, a fall restraint system could be used to prevent workers from reaching areas where there is a risk of falling. If neither of these options is suitable, a fall arrest system is the best control measure to use.

  • Temporary open sewers

For this specific hazard barriers around the hole are better as it is a collective measure. 

These are just some of the hazards you could encounter in your workplace, but each illustrates the importance of adhering to the Working at Height regulations, and performing risk assessments to identify the best preventative measure to take to ensure compliance. 

However, the Working at Height regulations are complicated. It can be difficult to understand exactly what they mean, what your responsibilities are, and how exactly you can remain compliant; which is why our free download The No-nonsense Guide to Working at Height is designed to be an accessible, straightforward manual containing everything you need to know. 

With our thorough yet convenient guide, you’ll learn the need-to-know facts about the Working at Height regulations; from how to safeguard your staff and ensure a safe working environment, to remaining compliant.

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