Common height related hazards - Height - Healthy Working Lives

Height

Precautions you should take to protect employees working at height

 

​​​​​​​​​​​The main safety concerns with working at height are people or objects falling and causing serious injury and damage.

Use the links below to find information on the common hazards when working at height, how to assess them, precautions you can take with equipment and your legal duties.

  1. Common height related hazards
  2. Height safety precautions
  3. Height safety legislation

 

1. Common height related hazards

There are certain activities involving working at height that present an obvious hazard. These include work from ladders, scaffolds and platforms.

Other examples can include work

  • on roofs
  • on elevated structures
  • over tanks, pits or water
  • on cliffs and steep ground
  • on top of vehicles or trailers.

If a worker falls from a height of two or more meters, they are likely to sustain a serious injury, permanent disability or die.

​Injury and damage from people or items falling can occur as a result of

  • poor edge protection
  • unguarded openings
  • items being poorly stored or secured
  • work in areas without guardrails or covers.

Hazards can also arise due to changes in weather, inside and out.

Who is at risk

Workers in a variety of jobs could be at risk when working at height. These include workers in

  • agriculture
  • maintenance
  • construction
  • window cleaning
  • painting and decorating
  • the road transport industry.

​Those who do one-off jobs working at height without proper training, planning or equipment are also at risk. So are members of the public who could be harmed by the activities of those working at height.

Carry out a risk assessment

When work at height cannot be avoided, you will need to carry out a risk assessment. You will need to consider how employees are required to

  • work at height
  • access a work location
  • evacuate quickly and safely in an emergency.
 Find out how to carry out a risk assessment

Method statement

Where the work being carried out is considered to be complex, you should provide more detail to those involved in the form of a method statement. This includes how the job is to be carried out and the how the risks are managed.

Use our method statement form​