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The Health and Safety Precautions Around Working at Height

To those not properly trained, carrying out work at height might seem simple; just be careful to avoid falling. But for those with more experience, we understand that working at height is a very complex working condition that requires skill and knowledge to navigate correctly. We can teach this at NATAS with our range of effective working at height course range.

If you’re unsure if working at height training is the right course for your team, you can learn all about the health and safety precautions around working at height here in our handy guide. We aim to inform and educate you on the training your team needs, even if you didn’t know they needed it! So, find the answers to your questions and queries here, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions or need additional information on our training on offer. 

What is Working at Height? 

Let’s cover the basics first by detailing the definition of working at height; it isn’t as straightforward as the name suggests. 

According to the HSE, working at height refers to work taking place where a worker could fall a distance that would cause personal injury. Of course, the first thought that comes to mind might be working from a ladder or on a roof, which perfectly matches the description of working at height. 

But did you also know that you can work at height on the ground level? Suppose there is a hole or opening on the ground level that a person is working around. In that case, this is also classed as working at height as there may be potential to fall through the hole to a distance below floor level. Similarly, working near a fragile surface can constitute working at height if there is a possibility of falling through the surface.

Clearly, working at height is not as back and white as it might first seem, and if you were not already aware of this, this is your first sign that appropriate training is required. 

What is Classed as Working at Height? 

In simple terms, working at height is classed as being any of the following circumstances;

  • Being above the floor or ground level.
  • Potentially able to fall from an edge. 
  • Potentially able to fall through an opening or fragile surface. 
  • Potentially able to fall through a hole or opening at ground level. 

What is NOT Classed as Working at Height? 

Although it may be confusing, it should be made clear that the following working conditions are NOT classed as working at height;

  • Working on a permanent staircase fixture. 
  • Tripping when on ground level. 

The Risks of Working at Height

Now that you know what working at height is, it is equally important to define the risks associated with these working conditions. After all, it is not to be downplayed and can even result in fatalities. 

A study by the HSE by the HSE found that between 2021-2022, a staggering 123 people were killed in work-related accidents. The largest percentage cause of these deaths was working at height

So, clearly, working at height is dangerous, but what are the risks? They can be divided into two distinct brackets.

Falling from Height

When it comes to falling from a height, the risks vary from minor injuries to fatalities; however, the consequences are usually serious. Working at height is very common in the construction industry, so there is the potential to slip and fall from surfaces and structures. From climbing ladders, scaling buildings, and working on roofs to maneuvering pulley systems and working from scaffolding, there are countless ways to work at height. It is an everyday part of a construction worker’s job. 

Dropping Objects from Height

In addition to the risk of falling, there is also serious potential for workers to accidentally drop objects from the working height. This is less of a risk for the person at the height and more dangerous for other team members or pedestrians below. 

Objects might include tools or materials, both of which are usually quite heavy. When falling from a height, these will hit the ground at a speed and momentum which could be disastrous and even fatal for those unlucky to be below. 

Training to Undertake Before Working at Height

By now, we have established how dangerous working at height can be without the proper training. Next, you need to know what training is necessary before any work at height can be carried out. 

At NATAS, we are pleased to offer an extensive working at height online training course that provides the essential information needed for all work to be carried out safely.

The working at heights online course begins with an introduction to working at height which details the information given here in more detail, as well as the regulations and responsibilities in place. Next, delegates will learn in-depth about risk assessments for working at height, covering how to accurately identify risks of the work about to be carried out. Control measures and how to implement them are then covered, teaching delegates how to deal with identified risks safely to avoid injury. Finally, the training course will detail the most suitable equipment for working at height, and how to use it efficiently and when needed.

All this information should be learned and understood by anyone planning on working at height before any actual work takes place. 

Who Needs Working at Height Training?

As previously mentioned, working at height is a hugely common task for many industry professionals. Working at height training is needed for anyone planning on carrying out this work and those supervising others working at height. Although they may not need to work at height themselves, they should be knowledgeable in best safety practices to monitor others working at these heights and ensure procedures are followed. 

The list of professionals who may need to undergo a working at height online course is extensive, and to give you an idea, here are a few examples of when it would be needed; 

  • Gutter Cleaning & Roof Work
  • Solar Panel Installation & Repair
  • Putting Up Displays in Commercial Settings 
  • Shelf Stacking & Warehouse Operations 
  • Window Cleaning
  • Unloading Vehicle
  • Machine Maintenance
  • Excavations

If you’re unsure if an upcoming job or project will require working at height training, get in touch with our team for advice and support on how we can help. 

Who is Responsible for Working at Height Training? 

The law surrounding work at height is clear as stipulated by The Working at Height Regulations 2005. It states that those responsible for the planning and execution of working at height training for all team members fall to employers and those who manage work at height operations. For example, a building owner or facilities manager who might contract a team to work at height. 

It is up to the responsible persons to ensure work is properly planned and carried out by competent people. 

Get Started with NATAS Today 

If you’re an employer or manager looking for comprehensive working at height training for your team, we can help. At NATAS, we offer award-winning health and safety training courses and are proud to offer an online course for working at height

Our course covers all the basics and most important information to bring your team up to speed on the proper techniques and advice. In addition to ensuring they meet health and safety best practices. 

For more information or to discuss in-person training options, don’t hesitate to contact us today for additional advice. We will also be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. However, you can also find out more in our extensive information centre online now.


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