Working at height - mythbusting health and safety regulations

Working at height - mythbusting health and safety regulations

How well do you know the health and safety regulations around working at height? There are a lot of common misconceptions around, especially among employers who don't often need this kind of work undertaken. But it doesn't matter how frequently this type of work is undertaken, the working at height regulations apply to all employers and employees.

Ladders are banned

If a ladder is the most appropriate equipment, and you've taken necessary safety precautions like adequate training, you are free to use one. The regulations simply ask an employer to consider whether it's the most appropriate form of equipment or whether the job could be undertaken more safely and efficiently using a cherry picker or access platform.

It's not my fault if an employee has a fall

Yes it is. As an employer, it's up to you to familiarise yourself with all regulations about working at height and to ensure that you don't knowingly send employees to work in hazardous situations without the right equipment or safety gear. You need to take all risk factors into consideration, including the weather.

There's no point in doing a risk assessment, it just wastes time

If any employee is going to be working at height, you must conduct a full risk assessment. You can use your common sense, but you need to consider factors like the work to be carried out and the environment it will be carried out in, the suitability of the employee who will undertake the job - for example, have they received IPAF or PASMA training? - and the safety of the structure. Risk assessments aren't a means of generating paperwork or holding up a job, they're crucial to protect the health and safety of your workers in a hazardous situation.

The job's underground, these regulations don't apply

The working at height regulations have no relationship with ground level, except where people are working above it. If a worker could fall and sustain an injury, they're working at height and at heights over two metres, or in high risk environments, extra safety precautions must be taken.