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Working At Height

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 11 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
Working Height Regulations Safety

There are many occupations which require you to work at height. From climbing up ladders to using scaffolding and platforms, the risks of falling from height are very real indeed and account for a large proportion of the number of accidents which occur in the workplace every year which is why it is important to have proper regulations in place.

The Work At Height Regulations 2005

The regulations are in place in order to help prevent the many serious injuries and even deaths that occur each year due to a fall from height in the workplace. They are aimed at those who control the work of others – people such as facilities managers, construction site managers and even the self-employed. In fact, anybody who might contract others to work at height.

In April 2007, the regulations were amended to also incorporate those who might engage in height related activities such as in teambuilding exercises or in any other kind of sport or recreational pursuit which can involve operating at height.

Employer Responsibilities

An employer must ensure that any work which is to be carried out at height has been properly planned, is fully supervised and that it’s only carried out by those who are competent to do it. They must ensure that the staff have received thorough instruction and training and that they’ve been given all the necessary information which is required in order to carry out their tasks. Where possible, an employer should try to see if any particular role is able to be performed without resorting to working at height, first of all.

An example might be a long handled implement for cleaning office windows. If not, they must take all necessary steps to make the area as safe as possible and to install any protective equipment which would help to prevent falls from occurring, e.g. safety barriers, guard rails, soft landing strips, nets etc.

Worker Responsibilities

It is a worker’s responsibility to use all the equipment which has been provided in the correct and proper manner and to follow all training and instruction to the letter, except in the case where the worker feels the instruction still has the potential to be dangerous which would then call for a review of the safety instructions and procedures until the worker was satisfied that all necessary precautions were in place. They must also report any specific hazards or faulty or dangerous equipment to their employer.

Risk Assessment

An employer must ensure that a proper risk assessment is carried out before any work at height is undertaken. It’s not simply a fall from height at which a person is working but also the risks associated with trips and slips which could occur at height too. It must take into account what protection is already in place, such as rails, barriers etc and whether that can be improved upon and the risk assessment should be regularly reviewed. This is especially true in areas like construction where the requirements for scaffolding are often changing on a regular basis as a building gets nearer completion so each time the scaffolding structure is changed, a further risk assessment needs to be carried out.

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[Add a Comment]
My employer has recently authorised the removal of audible reverse alarms (factory fitted) at my workplace where we have in excess of 85 flts operating. is this even legal?
bonobo - 11-Oct-17 @ 12:29 PM
I own a small company and wanted to know if I need get training provided to an employee to work at a heigh of 10ft?
SJ - 1-Sep-17 @ 12:00 AM
@DriverJohn - is sounds like a valid reason to me. HSE would say all people using work equipment or supervising / managing its use should be sufficiently competent to do so safely. This includes medical fitness and physical aptitude.
RoB - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:54 AM
My manager asked me if I drive the same forklift, to which I said yes. He told me not to use the same forklift because the chairs would break (I wight 130kg), so I this a genuine safety or regulation concern or something else. Could anyone inform me on this issue.
DriverJohn - 2-Jul-17 @ 11:30 AM
Can employers let staff that don't have a license or any training on a reach truckdrive or load unload stock in and outside the warehouse
chris - 19-Jan-17 @ 12:24 AM
Szymon S - Your Question:
If my employer bought me safety equipment, and after a few months I decided to leave, how do I leave that job if I am an apprentice and do I get to keep the safety equipment?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you would be allowed to keep the safety equipment. In fact you may wish to look in the terms and conditions of your contract to see whether you may have to pay any course fee charges etc if you leave the apprenticeship before you have completed the course.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:02 PM
If my employer bought me safety equipment, and after a few months i decided to leave, how do i leave that job if i am an apprentice and do i get to keep the safety equipment?
Szymon S - 8-Jan-17 @ 3:04 PM
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