Work at Height

Policies, Procedures & Guidance

Work at Height

Work at height involves work in a place where a person could be injured falling from it, even if it is at or below ground level.

In 2020, 29 persons at work were killed due to falling from height. 

Examples of work at height can include:

  • Use of access equipment (a work platform, scaffold or ladder)
  • Use of inappropriate access equipment, such as standing on a lab stool
  • Work on a roof surface or exposed edge
  • Work next to openings such as cellars or excavations

Work at height must be planned, organised, supervised and carried out by competent persons. If there is any uncertainty over competency, please contact the OHES Department for advice.

When considering work at height, apply the hierarchy of control:

  1. Avoid work at height wherever possible
  2. Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls, where it isn’t possible avoid working at height
  3. Where the risk of a fall cannot be eliminated then use other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.

Where work at height is required, ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • All work at height takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety
  • Those involved in work at height are trained and competent
  • The place where work at height is done safely
  • Equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected 
  • The risk from fragile surfaces are properly controlled and
  • The risks from falling objects are properly controlled. 

Any additional information required in relation to working at height can be accessed through the HSE website:

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