oneSAFE’s guide to Working at Height

working at height

Working at height is a common but inherently risky activity in many industries and workplaces, from construction and maintenance to window cleaning. Ensuring the safety of workers who perform tasks at height is crucial, as falls from height are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. Here are some of the risks associated with working at height and some practical tips for managing these risks to ensure a safer work environment.

Understanding the Risks

Here are some of the main risks associated with working a height:

Falls: The most obvious and significant risk. Falls can occur from ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any elevated surface.

Structural Failure: Improperly constructed or unstable working platforms can collapse, leading to falls.

Environmental Conditions: Weather conditions like rain, snow, or high winds can make working at height more dangerous.

Human Factors: Fatigue, lack of training, or human error can increase the likelihood of accidents.

    Managing the Risks

    How can we manage these risks to ensure employees are working safely at all times?

    Risk Assessment: Conduct a thorough risk assessment before starting any work at height. Identify potential hazards, assess the risks, and implement measures to mitigate them. This should also factor in any required maintenance to equipment or working platforms.

    Training and Competence: Ensure all workers are adequately trained and competent. Training should include the correct use of equipment, recognising hazards, and emergency procedures.

    For support with your Health & Safety training needs, you can contact the oneSAFE team by emailing

    Use of Appropriate Equipment:

    • Ladders: Use only when necessary and ensure they are in good condition and positioned correctly.
    • Scaffolding: Ensure it is erected by trained and competent personnel and regularly inspected.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Use harnesses, helmets, and other PPE as required. The risk assessment should highlight and outline any PPE requirements.

    Safe Working Procedures: Develop and enforce safe working procedures, including:

    • Three Points of Contact: When using ladders, maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand).
    • Tool Management: Secure tools and equipment to prevent them from falling.
    • Housekeeping: Keep work areas clean and free of unnecessary obstacles to reduce the risk of trips and falls.

    Supervision and Monitoring: Ensure continuous supervision of work at height. Supervisors should be trained to identify unsafe practices and take corrective action. No employee should be working independently.

    Environmental Considerations: Monitor weather conditions and stop work in unsafe weather. It is also important to ensure that there is proper lighting for visibility.

    Emergency Preparedness: Have a clear emergency plan in place. Workers should be trained in emergency procedures, and rescue equipment should be readily available. This plan and these procedures should be shared regularly.

    Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain all equipment and working platforms. Address any defects immediately to prevent accidents. Any broken or unsuitable equipment should be disposed of.

      How can oneSAFE help?

      Working at height presents unique challenges and risks, but with proper planning, training, and equipment, these risks can be effectively managed. oneSAFE provides a platform for sharing key safety materials, managing risks and tracking any training requirements.

      To learn more about how oneSAFE can help you to keep your people safe, get in contact with our team today.


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