3 October 2022
- What are the risks of working at height?
- What is working at height? What height is considered working at height?
- What are the Working at Height Regulations 2005?
- Who do the regulations apply to?
- What are the duty holder’s responsibilities?
- What are The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- What inspection and testing is required for height safety equipment?
- What records should be kept to comply with the Working at Height Regulations 2005?
- What happens to defective items?
Working at height can be dangerous and receives much scrutiny from the HSE. Many employers will have responsibilities regarding working at height. Proper management of fixed equipment such as horizontal and vertical lifelines and anchor points, portable equipment such as fall arrest blocks and tripods and PPE such as harnesses and lanyards can minimise these risks. Specifying, installing, training, maintaining and inspecting are all crucial processes in the working at height safety regime.
What are the risks of working at height?
Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries. The UK still experiences nearly 40 annual fatal injuries to workers due to falls from a height, accounting for 27% of all fatal worker injuries. Falls from height also accounts for over 40,000 annual cases of self-reported non-fatal injuries.
What is working at height? What height is considered working at height?
Work at height means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. For example you are working at height if you –
- Are working on a ladder or a flat roof;
- Could fall through a fragile surface;
- Could fall into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground.
What are the Working at Height Regulations 2005?
The main legislation that applies to working at height are The Work at Height Regulations 2005 which applies to all operations carried out at height. At the centre of the regulations is regulation 6 which puts an expectation on an employer to apply a three-stage hierarchy to all work which is to be carried out at height –
- AVOID Working at Height – Do as much work as possible from the ground level.
- PREVENT a fall from occurring.
- MINIMISE the distance and/or consequence of a fall.
Who do the regulations apply to?
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 are mandatory for all employers and people who control work at height and are enforceable by law.
What are the duty holder’s responsibilities?
The employer or workplace controller must –
- Undertake a risk assessment, identifying the hazards and providing suitable precautions.
- Provide any employees who will work at height with adequate training.
- Plan the work at height.
- Provide appropriate equipment and ensure it is used.
- Inspect and maintain protective equipment. You have a responsibility to inspect and maintain equipment to make sure that it’s always up to the job of protecting your employees. Be sure to follow any manufacturer instructions and get a competent person to inspect gear when it is first installed or subjected to something that might cause a defect.
- Inspect equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations, at suitable intervals and each time exceptional circumstances which might jeopardise safety have occurred.
What are The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 require employers to maintain fall arrest equipment in good repair, including appropriate replacement.
What inspection and testing is required for height safety equipment?
- Where the safety of the work equipment depends on how it has been installed or assembled, an employer should ensure it is not used until it has been inspected in that position by a competent person.
- Any equipment exposed to conditions that may cause it to deteriorate, and result in a dangerous situation, should be inspected at suitable intervals appropriate to the environment and use. Do an inspection every time something happens that may affect the safety or stability of the equipment, eg adverse weather, accidental damage.
- For portable fall-arrest equipment and working at height PPE, employers should establish a regime for the inspection of the equipment that is drawn up by a competent person. BS EN 365:2004 states that components should be examined ‘at least twelve-monthly’. Most manufacturers, employers and inspection bodies (including Rossendale Group) require inspection of the equipment at least every 6 months.
What records should be kept to comply with the Working at Height Regulations 2005?
Two documents can be produced following a thorough examination of height safety equipment –
- The Report of Thorough Examination.
- A Defect Report (whenever there is a defect).
Our examiners are equipped with electronic reporting devices which provide immediate reports to the customer’s contacts. All reports are available on our free-to-use Rossendale Group Certification portal.
What happens to defective items?
Where serious defects are identified, our competent engineer carrying out the examination will immediately report this and label or quarantine the item as agreed. A Defect Report will be emailed to your representative and a hard copy is left on site.