Working at height

You may have seen scary videos on YouTube with people skipping around 10 floors up without any apparent safety equipment, but, if you’re an employer condoning that kind of thing will only end in court.

We’ve already covered stepladders at some length, but there are many other situations where people have to work at height and it’s easy for even experienced operatives to ‘forget’ safety precautions.  In fact, it’s more likely that a newly trained member of staff will observe all the precautions, whilst the old cliché ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ kicks in as the fact that no incidents have happened, generates the misguided belief that some precautions are unnecessary.

The key principle to working at height is ‘don’t do it unless you have to’!  However, assuming that, to get the job done, it’s necessary, then it’s important to observe the regulations.

The core responsibilities of employers according to the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (and the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007) are that:

  • Risk assessments for any activities taking place at height should take place
  • Appropriate equipment and protection is provided
  • All work at height is well planned and organised
  • People who work at height must be trained and competent
  • Equipment is properly installed and regularly inspected and maintained
  • Delicate surfaces are controlled

Taking these responsibilities a step further it’s important that regular monitoring of the application of safety requirements takes place; both in the way in which employees apply the safety measures and the condition of the equipment and protective devices.

Don’t risk people’s lives and health – or your company’s reputation.