Work at height means work in any place, including at or below ground level, where a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. This includes access to and egress from that place of work but does not include stairways or slips and trips on the level.
The Work at Height Regulations adopt a risk based approach to working at height, with risk assessment being the key to proper planning and organisation of the work. The overriding principle of the Regulations is that all reasonably practicable measures must be taken to prevent anyone falling.
The Regulations apply to all work activities and work situations irrespective of the height involved. They also require that all reasonable practicable measures are taken to prevent objects falling which could cause injury to any person and to manage risks associated with working on or near to fragile surfaces.
Useful information on the prevention of falls from height is available by clicking on the links below:
Ladders and Stepladders
The incorrect use of ladders and stepladders account for approximately 25% of all falls which result in fatalities or major injuries within the UK.
Where ladders/stepladders are used, they should only be used for light work of a low risk and of short duration (max ½ hr).
Ladders/stepladders should only be considered where the use of more suitable work equipment such as tower scaffolds, podium steps, mobile elevating work platforms or temporary stairs is not appropriate.
Carrying out a proper risk assessment will support the decision whether to use ladders/stepladders or alternative equipment. Typically, the longer or more complex the job, the more likely it is that a ladder/stepladder should be deemed unsuitable.
Information on the safe use of ladders and stepladders is contained in the following HSE leaflets: