There is often a lot of confusion surrounding the notion of working at height. Indeed, what constitutes work at height? What is the minimum height to be considered ‘working’ at height and are the myths that the HSE have banned ladders true?
So what exactly is working at height?
The HSE defines work at height as:
“work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury”
Typically you are performing work from height if you are:
- working above ground level
- could fall from an edge or through an opening
- could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole
For clarity, working at height does not include slips and trips on the same level or using a permanent staircase.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that all work at height is properly planned and organised. It also requires that:
- those involved in work at height are competent
- work at height risks are assessed
- any equipment used for working at height is properly inspected and maintained
- workers are competent to work at height
What constitutes competency?
This depends largely on how low or high risk the work at height to be completed is. If a ladder needs to be used for a short period of time it may be sufficient to demonstrate how to use the equipment safely. For more complex tasks formal training may need to be completed.