Introduction to this document

Working at height

If carried out incorrectly or by using the wrong type of access equipment, working at height could cause accidents and potentially put you on the wrong side of the law.

Working at height safely

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should complete a risk assessment for this activity which identifies all “significant” hazards and appropriate “reasonable” ways of reducing risks to an acceptable level. Wherever possible, you should try to avoid all work at height, but where this is not practical then you must carry out a risk assessment and plan the work accordingly.

Managing the risks

To help you identify the hazards and appropriate ways of controlling them, use our example Risk Assessment - Working at Height. It covers the generic hazards associated with working at height and suggests control measures to reduce risks to an acceptable level.

You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any that could and more importantly are likely to, cause an accident or injury.

Brief your staff

Work to the principle that if there is any chance of your staff being unaware of the safe way of working at height, then you will need to make it clear on your document. Finally, always ensure any control measures you identify and follow only go so far “as is reasonably practicable”.  

Note. The list of potential hazards is not exhaustive, as each time your staff work at height the conditions may be totally different. For your risk assessment to be considered suitable and sufficient in the eyes of the law it must accurately reflect the “significant” hazards found at the time the activity takes place in your workplace.