Your legal responsibility
You must do all that is reasonably possible to prevent anyone falling from a height. When you carry out your risk assessment, you must look at all work carried out at a height where there is a risk of falling. This includes work done at or below ground level.
Make sure you do the following:
- Avoid unnecessary people working at heights.
- Where this can't be avoided, use work equipment or other measures to prevent the risk from falls.
- Where you can't eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a potential fall.
What law applies?
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005
- The Work at Height Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005
The regulations cover many aspects about working at a height, including:
- Personal fall protection (such as work restraints and rope access)
- Means of access
- Working platforms
- Ladders and step ladders
How to keep employees working at height safe
When work at height is involved, you're legally responsible to make sure that:
- It's properly planned and organised
- It takes account of weather conditions that could risk health and safety
- Staff involved are trained and competent
- The place where it's done is safe
- The equipment is appropriately inspected
- Risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled
- Risks from falling objects are properly controlled
The regulations require you to make a plan if staff will be working from a height. Therefore, you must:
- Look at ways that avoid working from a height if it is safe and reasonably possible to do it another way
- Ensure that the work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in as safe a way as is reasonably possible
- Plan for emergencies and rescues
- Take account of your general risk assessment
See the HSE's sub-site 'Falls from height in the workplace'.