Working at Height

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What is Working at Height?

Working at Height doesn’t just cover roofers and scaffolders. Working at Height covers work in any place where you could fall a distance liable to cause injury.

This includes work above ground level, falling from an edge or through an opening or fragile surface and even falling from ground level into a hole or opening are also included. However, falls from height must involve a fall from one level to a lower level. It doesn’t include any slip/trip causing the fall or walking up and down a permanent staircase in a building or climbing in/out of a machine.

There are regulations which you must comply with. This includes ensuring all work being done at height is planned and organised. The people carrying out the work also need to be knowledgeable. There must be appropriate safety equipment and the risks of the individual job need to be properly managed.

The HSE has a huge amount of information on this issue, common myths surrounding work at height and the legal issues.


In The News

Statistics from 2021 found 35 workers had fatal falls from height while working. The construction industry alone has had multiple cases of businesses being fined, after employees were injured or killed while working at height.

In Merseyside, a roofing company owner has been given a suspended sentence after a concern regarding unsafe work at height was reported. An incident has also been reported where a scaffolder fell approximately eight meters through partially dismantled scaffolding. He suffered two brain haemorrhages, six vertebra fractures, a fractured shoulder blade and multiple rib fractures. After an investigation by the HSE, the business was fined £16,667.

These are just two of the stories that made it into the recent HSE news bulletin. It’s impossible to know how many near-misses workers have had. Lack of training, lack of suitable safety equipment or negligence by employers and employees, are all factors in falls from height.


What does an Employer need to do?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require controls to be put in place to manage the risk of falling, whatever the height. This legislation applies to workplaces in general, not only the construction industry. The legislation asks that work at height must only be undertaken when it is not reasonably practicable to carry out the work in another way.

Where it is necessary, suitable, and sufficient measures are required to prevent a fall of any distance. This includes precautions to minimise the distance and consequences of any fall liable to cause injury.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also require that employers carry out a risk assessment, this should be in writing for companies with 5 or more employees.

Special considerations should be made for the following –

  • Roofs
  • Fragile roofs
  • Sloping roofs
  • Deterioration of materials such as aging roofs
  • Unprotected edges
  • Access equipment being used – maintenance and training on safe use
  • Weather conditions
  • Falling materials

If you are need support in this area, client services can advise further, they can be contacted by clicking here.


Working at Height Training

Depending on the nature of the work you do at height, Raeburn Training have a range of solutions.

  • Access training includes PASMA and IPAF courses, available at a range of locations across central / eastern Scotland
  • QualSafe accredited Working at Height courses, run monthly from Kirkcaldy.
  • Elearning ROSPA Working at Height course, can be undertaken at a time to suit at our IT suite in Kirkcaldy

Get in touch for more information or to book onto a course.


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