Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations to have, with figures showing that the fatal injury rate is four times the all-industry rate. As such, it’s essential that those in the industry have approximately the equipment, skills, knowledge and experience required in order to do their jobs safely.

For those interested in finding out more, here are some of the frequently asked questions about working at height, which is one of the riskiest construction jobs and the main cause of fatal accidents and major injury in the workforce.

What is work at height?

Work at height refers to any place where someone could fall a distance that would result in personal injury if no precautions were taken. You are working at height if you are above ground or floor level, could fall from an edge through a fragile surface or an opening, or if you could fall into an opening in the floor or a hole in the ground.

What are collective fall prevention measures?

Collective protection is equipment such as scissor lifts, guardrails and tower scaffolds, which don’t require those working at height to act to be effective.

What are personal fall prevention measures?

Personal protection is equipment that requires the operator to do something, such as putting on a safety harness properly and connecting it to a suitable anchor point using an energy-absorbing lanyard.

How do I comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005?

The regulations place duties on employers and those managing any work at height activity, where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. 

All work must be properly planned and organised, all operators involved must be competent and risk assessments must be carried out and appropriate work equipment selected and used. Equipment must also be properly inspected and maintained and the risks of working on or near fragile surfaces properly managed.

Do I need working at height insurance?

Because of the risks involved, a work at height insurance policy is a good idea and there are various different indemnity policies available that cover different heights, as well as more general policies with an unlimited height restriction.