Next Review: Resources Committee 16th May 2022
Falls from height are a major cause of injuries at work, often where the work at height is of short duration and from ‘low’ heights. Common causes of such accidents include:
- overreaching or over balancing;
- climbing with loads;
- using inappropriate equipment such as desks / chairs;
- not securely fixing access equipment;
- placing access equipment on unsuitable surfaces;
- falls from roofs with unprotected edges;
- falls through fragile materials.
This guidance applies to all work situations from where a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.
Reference to the safe use of ladders and stepladders is included in this guidance (appendix a) in recognition of the fact that after a risk assessment such equipment may be the only reasonably practical means of carrying out a task.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work situations from where a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury, or access to and from such a place, this includes work at ground level where there is a risk of falling into an excavation etc.
To ensure that:
Work at height is avoided if possible by ensuring that no work is done at height if it is safe and reasonably practicable to do it other than at height.
A risk assessment is carried out under regulation 3 of the Management of health and safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Any work carried out at height is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in as safe as way as is reasonably practicable to prevent any persons falling a distance liable to cause injury.
The work is postponed while weather conditions endanger health or safety.
Everyone involved in the work is competent or if being trained is supervised by a competent person. This includes anyone involved in the organisation, planning, supervision and the supply and maintenance of equipment.
The place where work is done at height is safe and has features to prevent a fall.
Any equipment for work at height is suitably selected and appropriately inspected. Collective protection measures are given priority over personal protective measures. Where regular access is made onto roofs, managers must ensure that it is checked ‘prior’ to work commencing. This involves checking every parapet, permanent rail etc.
No-one under their control goes onto or near a fragile surface unless that is the only reasonably practicable way for the worker to carry out the work safely and a risk assessment has been carried out and suitable control measures put in place.
Appropriate warnings are in place to prevent any one working under their control going onto or near a fragile surface.
The risks from falling objects are properly controlled.
Access is prevented and clearly signed to areas where there is a risk of a person falling or being struck by a falling object.
If a ladder is used for any work at height, that a risk assessment has demonstrated that the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified and the guidance in Appendix A is complied with.
When they employ contractors who will be working at height, that their arrangements are reviewed. This includes asking and monitoring safety method statements and risk assessments before allowing work to commence. Further guidance can be sought from the Lewisham Health and Safety Manual.
All employees must ensure that they:
Report to their Manager or the Health and Safety Officer any activity or defect relating to work at height, which is likely to endanger himself or herself or another person.
Use any equipment or safety device supplied for work at height properly.
They comply with any training and instructions.
- Safe Use of Steps, Ladders and Scaffold Tower
- Any step ladders or ladders must be fit for purpose (Class 1 Industrial grade ladder or to EN131 light trade, not carrying excessive weights). Do not use domestic grade ladders;
- Any scaffold towers or other access equipment must be fit for purpose (BS2482 boards and BS5973 tubes and fittings);
- All access equipment is subject to routine inspection regimes but you must check before each use that ladders etc are in good condition. Do not use any damaged or repaired ladders or access equipment;
- Stepladders must be positioned correctly on level stable ground and open to the extent of the retaining bar. If possible steps should be set at a right angle to the work face;
- Do not place stepladders where they can be dislodged or struck by traffic/doors;
- The users’ knees should remain below the top of the steps;
- For ladders, make sure they are positioned at a 75 degree angle on a firm and level base evenly supported on both stiles;
- Rungs should be kept free from mud; boots should be cleaned before use;
- Do not use rungs to support boards for access. Intermediate landing places should be provided on a scaffold to ensure a maximum ladder height of 9 metres;
- Only one person should be on a ladder at any one time;
- A second person should be at the base of the ladder to add stability and to keep the area clear;
- Tie off ladders at all times where possible;
- Always maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder (2 feet/1 hand or 2 hands/1 foot should be in contact with the ladder at all times);
- Do not rest a ladder against any fragile surface or fitting;
- Do not leave a placed ladder unattended;
- Do not move scaffold towers when someone is occupying them;
- Use a gin wheel or other lifting equipment rather than carry bulky items up a ladder;
- Carry light tools etc in a shoulder bag or on a belt;
- Do not over-reach as this leads to overbalancing;
- Make sure access equipment is stored securely when not in use.