Tue, 26 Sep 2023

The Laws Surrounding Working at Heights

16 May 2023, 04:24 GMT+10

Working at height is a common task in most workplaces. Workplaces such as construction sites and warehouses require working at height tasks on a daily basis. However, working at height can be fatal, with it being accountable for most of the deaths and injuries in the workplace. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), falls from heights are the most common cause of occupational casualties, with an estimated 647,000 deaths in workplaces every year. This fact dictates how working at heights can be a considerable concern if performed carelessly. In this blog post, we will guide you on the rules and regulations that surround working at heights and make sure that the workers are safe from such a dangerous and risky job.

Working at Height Regulations

The law of Working at Height Regulations, introduced in 2005, aims to prevent the deaths and injuries that are caused by falls from heights in the workplace. This rule applies to all work at altitudes where the worker is at risk of falling and sustaining injury. These regulations ensure that employers ensure their responsibility of maintaining the well-being of their employees when working at height, and for that, there are specific steps and measures an employer is legally required to implement in their workplace. The Working at Height Regulation 2005 covers a range of activities, such as:

  • The use of a ladder or stepladder
  • Work on a flat, scaffold, or elevated mobile platform
  • Work on the back or top of a lorry
  • Not working on areas where there is a chance of falling from the edge, or through an opening, or working on a fragile surface
  • Working at the lowest ground level possible

There are specific responsibilities that the Working at Height Regulations 2005 place upon employers. Here are some of the following:

  • Employers are legally required to perform a working at height risk assessment before their employees conduct work at height. Risk assessment helps in identifying the threats that are associated with work at height and allows employers to take appropriate control measures to minimise these risks. A risk assessment is the first step to safety, and by conducting an adequate risk assessment, an employer can ensure the well-being of their staff.
  • Following an assessment of the risks, the employer should make sure that sufficient controls are in place to lessen the threats; these controls may include offering personal protective equipment and support machinery.
  • Making sure the surface the worker will be working on is secure and strong enough to support the worker's weight.
  • Any object that falls from a height has the potential to hurt anyone it comes into contact with. Therefore, practical steps should be taken to stop this.
  • Taking precautions to make sure that the worker performing their task at a height won't need to take extra precautions to avoid a fall or other issue.
  • Informing the manager or supervisor of any risk or defect associated with activities while working at a height. By doing this, the manager would be able to take the necessary actions to lower the risk and address the issue.

Working at Height Regulations 2005: Training

Working at Height Regulations, 2005 makes it legal for a person to be appropriately trained and competent before carrying out work at height. Working at heights can be a dangerous task, and not everyone can perform it. Therefore, an employer is legally responsible for providing their employees with appropriate working at height training to ensure that they can are competent enough to effectively carry out a task when at height. Only a few individuals could complete the task of working at heights quickly. To be on heights, one must be fearless of heights. An incompetent person is unlikely to be able to work at a height. Training for working at heights teaches a person the essential components of performing work at the highest level and the crucial procedures to follow before working, such as risk assessment. You can guarantee your employees' competency and skill set for successfully carrying out their tasks at height by giving them the proper training.

Best practices for working at heights

Working at a height poses a risk of severe injury or even death if the necessary safety precautions are not taken. To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, it is crucial to adhere to best practices for working at height, whether you are on a construction site, a roof, or any other elevated area. Some of the ideal procedures for working at heights are listed below:

  • Conducting a thorough risk assessment
  • Using proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Planning the work carefully
  • Ensure proper training
  • Use fall protection
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area
  • Following all relevant regulations and guidelines

Safety rules for working at heights

When possible, try to avoid having to work at a height. It is advised to choose the safer option whenever possible, which in this case would be to substitute a task for one that is safer or use a device to make it more accessible.

Choosing the most suitable and safest work equipment. You must be aware of how to utilise these safety tools to your advantage. You would need the appropriate PPE training to do that.

Here are some of the safety rules that you should consider before working at height.

  • Inspecting your PPE
  • Locating airbags as close to the working area so that they could save the person from being heavily injured while falling.
  • Always have the proper emergency rescue procedures available at the place of work.
  • Always follow the instructions and safety guidelines provided to maximize your safety.
  • Having a strong and adequately locked anchor point.
  • Never use equipment, such as a scaffold, when damaged or faulty.
  • Being aware of when and what type of fall protection is required.


Lastly, in order to reduce the risk involved in working at heights, it is crucial to stick to the laws and regulations regulating working at heights. Employing best practices, upholding safety regulations, and adhering to rules and guidelines can help workers avoid accidents. The Working at Heights Regulations 2005, a law that was put into effect when working at heights, has been thoroughly explained in this blog. According to this regulation, it is the employer's duty to put in place sound health and safety procedures at work to safeguard the safety of employees who are working at heights. This blog has also offered advice on the best safety precautions to take when working at heights. This entails performing a risk assessment, using PPE, and providing employees with training. By taking such control measures, employers and employees can guarantee that they and their co-workers can work safely and avoid the severe consequences of falls from heights. Keep in mind that everyone is responsible for their own safety, and by working together, we can make the workplace safer for everyone.

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