Last edited 09 Dec 2016

Work at height regulations

The Work at Height Regulations (2005) came into force on 6 April 2005. They are intended to prevent deaths and injuries caused by falls at work. In 2005/06 falls from height caused 46 fatalities at work and 3350 major injuries.

The regulations apply to all work at any height (even if it is at or below ground level) where there is risk of a fall that may cause injury. The regulations impose duties on:

  • Employers.
  • Self-employed people.
  • People that control the work of others.

Duty holders must adopt the following hierarchy:

  • Where possible, avoiding work at height.
  • Where work at height cannot be avoided, take measures to prevent falls.
  • Where risk cannot be eliminated, take measures to minimise the distance and consequences of falls.

Where work at height is necessary, duty holders are required to ensure that:

  • Risks are assessed and managed (including the risks of working on or near fragile surfaces and risks from falling objects).
  • People involved in work at height are competent, trained, or supervised if they are being trained.
  • Work at height is properly planned and organised (including planning for emergencies and for rescue).
  • Account has been taken of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety (work should be postponed if weather conditions endanger health or safety).
  • Appropriate equipment is used, inspected and properly maintained (giving use of collective protection measures priority over personal protection measures).

People working under the control of others must:

  • Report any safety hazard to them.
  • Use the equipment supplied properly.

Schedules are provided at the end of the regulations, setting out requirements for specific circumstances:

  • Schedule 1: Existing places of work and means of access or egress at height.
  • Schedule 2: Guard-rails, toe boards, barriers and similar collective means of protection.
  • Schedule 3: Working platforms.
  • Schedule 4: Collective safeguards for arresting falls.
  • Schedule 5: Personal protection systems.
  • Schedule 6: Ladders.
  • Schedule 7: Particulars to be included in a report of inspection

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