Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005?

The Regulations apply to all work at height where there is risk of a fall that is liable to cause personal injury. They place duties on employers, the self-employed and any person who controls the work of others (facilities managers or building owners who may contact others to work at height).

Those with duties under the Regulations must ensure that:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • Those involved in work at height are competent
  • The risk from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • The risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • The equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained

For managing work at height and selecting the most appropriate equipment, duty holders must:

  • Avoid work at height where possible. For example, doing the work from ground level using extending equipment
  • Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls, where work at height cannot be avoided. For example, cherry pickers or scaffolding
  • Use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of potential falls, where risk cannot be eliminated. For example, nets or bean bags

What is short duration work?

Short duration work mean tasks that are measured in minutes rather than hours e.g. replacing a few of broken tiles on a roof or adjusting a television aerial.

Do I need a rescue plan when working at height?

Yes. The law requires the when you work at height, you also plan for emergencies and rescue. These arrangements should not rely on the fire brigade as this may result in a delay which may be critical. Rescue kits are available and suppliers can provide training in their use so that in house equipment and expertise can be provided.

Are ladders banned?

No, ladders are not banned. They can be used for low-risk, short duration work and where a risk assessment shows that other more suitable work equipment cannot be used due to the layout of the work area. Schedule 6 of the Work at Height Regulations deals with the requirements for ladders.

Can I work on a fragile roof?

Where possible you should avoid working on a fragile roof by doing the following:

  • Work from underneath the roof using a suitable work platform or
  • Where this is no possible, to use a mobile elevating work platform that allows people to work from within the basket without having to stand on the roof

If access onto the fragile roof cannot be avoided, perimeter edge protection should be installed and staging used to spread the load. Unless all the work and access is on staging or platforms that are fitted with guardrails then safety nets should be installed underneath the roof or a harness system used.

Where harness are used, they need adequate anchorage points. They rely on discipline, training and supervision to make sure that they are used consistently and correctly.