Working at height refers to work that holds a risk of a person becoming injured by falling, whether that is from a height or from ground level into an opening. However, it should be noted that this does not include a slip or trip on the level itself. Within the home improvement industry working at height is often unavoidable for installers, so, what do you need to know?
The Work at Height Regulations
The Work at Height Regulations were introduced in 2005 and apply to you if you are an employer or you control work at height. The regulations were put in place in order to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height.
Should an accident occur, the individuals above would be liable if the equipment was faulty or uncertified. Therefore, employers and those in control of any work at height must ensure that all work is thoroughly planned and supervised and those undertaking the work are competent. The equipment used for jobs must also be properly inspected and maintained. To learn more about control measures to take, please see the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) official guidance here.
Working at Height Myths
There are many common ‘work at height’ myths :
- HSE has banned the use of ladders on building sites – no, this isn’t the case
- You need to be formally ‘qualified’ before using a ladder at work – no, you don’t
- I am working at height if I’m walking up and down a staircase at work – no, you are not
- You need to have two feet and one hand on a stepladder at all times when carrying out a task – no, this isn’t true
- HSE has banned the use of ladders to access scaffolds and you will be fined if you ignore this ban – no, this isn’t true
From 2014/15-2018/19 25% of fatal injuries to workers were from falls from a height , averaging at 36 fatal injuries per year. An average of 18 of these per year were in the construction sector.
- Ensure you are aware and up to date with The Work at Height Regulations
- Avoid making workers work at height where possible
- Create awareness around the dangers of working at height and how to stay as safe as possible
- Ensure that yourself and your employees have been on a working at height health and safety course
- Check your insurance policy covers working at height
Working at height comes with many risks, so we advise that all installation companies ensure that jobs at height are undertaken as safely as possible. When it comes to safety, you can never be too careful or have too much information. HSE’s Working at Height website is recommended for further reading.
 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), 2014/15-2018/19