Working at Height Regulations

Working at Height Blog

Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of major injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common cases of this include falling from ladders and falling through fragile surfaces.

What is Work at Height?

Work at height means you’re working where, if no precautions are in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury, e.g. falling through a fragile roof. You are classed as working at height if you:

  • Work above ground level
  • Could fall from an edge, through an opening/fragile surface
  • Could fall from ground level into an opening in the floor or hole in the ground

Working at height doesn’t include a slip or trip on the level; a fall from height has to involve a fall from one level to a lower level. It also doesn’t include walking up and down a permanent staircase.

How Do I Comply with Regulations?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 places a duty on employers and those who control any work at height activity. You must ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • Those involved with the work at height are competent to do so
  • The risks are assessed and any appropriate equipment is provided and used
  • The risks of fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • Equipment is inspected and maintained.

So, ensure that you carry out a full working at height risk assessment, so you can see you’ve assessed the risks that come with working at height.

If possible, avoid working at height where it’s reasonable practicable to do so. Obviously, there are some jobs where avoiding working at height just isn’t possible; in these cases prevent falls using the right type of equipment of using an existing place of work that is already safe. Where risk cannot be eliminated, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the correct equipment.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts

We thought we’d offer a few do’s and don’ts to help you to prepare for your work at height.


  • Work from the ground as much as possible
  • Ensure workers can safely move to and from where they work at height
  • Ensure the equipment you’re using is suitable, stable and strong
  • Maintain your equipment regularly
  • Provide protection from falling objects
  • Consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures


  • Overload ladders
  • Overreach on ladders/stepladders
  • Use ladders if you can’t maintain 3 points of contact
  • Rest a ladder against weak upper surfaces
  • Use ladders/stepladders for strenuous tasks
  • Let anyone who isn’t competent work at height

Do I Need Training?

If you undertake safety training or attend a working at height course is a great way to help your and your employees stay safe. As we’ve said, working at height is dangerous and often unavoidable, so training can provide you with the knowledge of how to work as safely as possible.

Obviously, anyone who works at height should attend some formal training. In addition, any managers or supervisors in charge of a team may require an understanding of working at height.

Training can help you to understand the risks and legalities that come with work at height. It will also help you work more efficiently and safely, which can only benefit you and your employees.

If you’re unsure about anything in regards to working at height, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be more than happy to offer some advice. We do also provide working at height training; it covers legal duties, accident statistics, inspection requirements and common hazards. This training is suitable for anyone who uses ladders and stepladders regularly. If you’d like more information, get in touch and one of our team will answer any questions you have.

HS Direct

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