Working at Height
Accidents while working at height is a major cause of death and injury in UK workplaces and UK legislation is being strengthened.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into force on 6 April 2005. The Regulations apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. They place duties on employers, the self-employed, and any person that controls the work of others (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height).
The Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007 which came into force on 6 April 2007 apply to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.
As part of the Regulations, duty holders must ensure:
- all work at height is properly planned and organised;
- those involved in work at height are competent;
- the risks from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used;
- the risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled; and
- equipment for work at height is properly inspected and maintained.
There is a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height. Duty holders must:
- avoid work at height where they can;
- use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height; and
- where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.
The Regulations include schedules giving requirements for existing places of work and means of access for work at height, collective fall prevention (eg guardrails and working platforms), collective fall arrest (eg nets, airbags etc), personal fall protection (e. work restraints, fall arrest and rope access) and ladders.
- Ladders General guidance on the use of ladders in the workplace
- 'Code of practice for selection, use and maintenance of personal fall protection systems and equipment for use in the workplace' (.pdf)
- 'General Access Scaffolds and Ladders' (.pdf)
- 'Practical Alternatives to Using Step Ladders' (.pdf)
- 'INDG401 The Work at Height Regulations 2005: A brief guide' (.pdf)
- "Fallington" an interactive web-based self training package
- 'INDG402 Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders: An employers' guide' (.pdf)
- 'INDG405 Top Tips for Ladder and Stepladder Safety' (.pdf)