WORKING AT HEIGHT
This brief guide describes what you, as an employer, need to do to protect your employees from falls at height. It will also be useful to employees and their representatives.
Following this guidance is normally enough to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). You are free to take other action, except where the guidance says you must do something specific.
Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries. Common causes are falls from ladders and through fragile roofs. The purpose of WAHR is to prevent death and injury from a fall from height. 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 you are working at height if you:
are working on a ladder or a flat roof;
could fall through a fragile surface;
could fall into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground.
Take a sensible approach when considering precautions for work at height. There may be some low-risk situations where common sense tells you no particular precautions are necessary and the law recognises this. There is a common misconception that ladders and stepladders are banned, but this
is not the case. There are many situations where a ladder is the most suitable equipment for working at height. Before working at height you must work through these simple steps:
avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so;
where work at height cannot be avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of
minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk not be eliminated.
Figure 1 gives further guidance and examples for each of the above steps to help you comply with the law.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;
make sure you don’t overload or overreach when working at height;
take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces;
provide protection from falling objects;
consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures.
Who do the Regulations apply to?
If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example if you are a contractor or a factory owner), the Regulations apply to you.
How do you comply with these Regulations?
Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height.
Low-risk, relatively straightforward tasks will require less effort when it comes to planning. Employers and those in control must first assess the risks.
Take a sensible, pragmatic approach when considering precautions for work at height. Factors to weigh up include the height of the task; the duration and frequency; and the condition of the surface being worked on. There will also be certain low-risk situations where common sense tells you no particular precautions are necessary.
How do you decide if someone is ‘competent’ to work at height?
You should make sure that people with sufficient skills, knowledge and experience are employed to perform the task, or, if they are being trained, that they work under the supervision of somebody competent to do it.
Can you AVOID working at height in the first place? If NO, go to PREVENT
- using extendible tools from ground level to remove the need to climb a ladder
- installing cables at ground level
- lowering a lighting mast to ground level
- ground level assembly of edge protection
Can you PREVENT a fall from occurring? If NO, go to MINIMISE
You can do this by:
using an existing place of work that
is already safe, e.g. a non fragile roof with a permanent perimeter guard rail or, if not
using work equipment to prevent people from falling
Some practical examples of collective protection when using an existing place of work:
• a concrete flat roof with existing edge protection, or guarded mezzanine floor, or plant or machinery with fixed guard rails around it
Some practical examples of collective protection using work equipment to prevent a fall:
mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) such as scissor lifts
An example of personal protection using work equipment to prevent a fall:
• using a work restraint (travel restriction) system that prevents a worker getting into a fall position
SAFETY, QUALITY AND INNOVATION
ARESTA’s safety equipment is the result of extensive global research, innovation and a design ethos to create a harm-free environment for those in the Fall Protection Safety industry.
ARESTA’s fast-growing reputation is from their commitment to providing certified safety equipment that offers advanced protection with best performance at great value. Always attentive to the needs of the industry, ARESTA continues its research and development efforts in order to find new ways to improve safety while also looking out for innovations that will give employers even more peace of mind when it comes to protecting employees on site.
Do you work at height?
We are the market leader in safety equipment for working at height. Our products are used by professionals across a wide range of industries, including construction, utilities and manufacturing.