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Working at Height FAQ

Working at Height FAQ:

What does working at height mean?

A person is classed as working at height when if there are no measures in place to prevent a fall, a worker could fall a distance which is liable to cause personal injury. These kinds of scenarios can range from working on a ladder, to being involved in rope access work at tens of meters above the ground.  A person would also be working at height if they could fall through a fragile surface or are working above a hole/opening.

What makes somebody competent to work at height?

Put simply the person working at height needs to have sufficient skills and knowledge, combined with experience to perform the task.

The level of competence needed for tasks differs with the task in question. For example, if a worker is simply using a ladder – the only element of training they would require is some instruction on the use of said ladder equipment. When a more complex job is being carried out, for example, industrial rope access there are several trade associations and pre-existing courses that ensures workers are competent enough to complete the works.

What factors do you need to take into account when working at height?

The law currently states that the following are elements that should be taken into consideration when planning works at height and measures can be taken against those companies or individuals not showing inclusion of these considerations into relevant plans.

  • Weather conditions are something that can compromise worker safety – for example the wind speeds need to be within certain perimeters to ensure safety while working on rope access projects.
  • Materials need to be halted from falling while work is being undertaken. This can either be done through setting up exclusion zones within the area of the workplace or through utilising safety netting with debris catching facilities.
  • A rescue plan should be put in place before work begins in case of emergencies. Ensuring all personnel know what to do in these situations is key.

rope access

How do you select the right equipment to use for a job?

When selecting the equipment needed for a job at height you will need to take in the following factors: the weather conditions on the day of work; what type of work the employees will be doing; how long they will be working at height for; how often will they be doing this particular task (i.e. daily routine, monthly, annually etc.); what the safety risks are where this equipment will be used.

What do employees themselves need to do while working at height?

Employees have legal duties to ensure that they take care of themselves as well as others who will be affected by their actions. They are required to co-operate with their employer to ensure that health and safety duties and requirements are complied with.

Legally an employee must: report any safety hazard they can identify to their employer; use the equipment given to them in a proper manner; follow any training or instruction that they have been given on the use of a particular type of equipment or tool (unless they believe the equipment to be unsafe, which loops back to their first legal duty).

As an employer you must liaise with your employees on issues including: any risks that might have arisen from their work, what you as an employer are doing to minimize or manage those risks and the best ways of providing information and training.


High Access Solutions offers our clients a full design and installation service, we undertake surveys and produce CAD drawings for each project. Please contact us for all your work at height project requirements.

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