Working at Height
Falls from height is one of the biggest causes of fatalities in the UK.
Some tasks may require employees to work at height using a kick stool, small ladders or stepladders. Such tasks could include replacing light fittings, hanging signs, tree maintenance, excavation works, etc. All of these activities fall within the regulations. This is due to the fact that there is always the potential for a person to fall from a distance and liable to cause personal injury. For example you are carrying out working at height if you:
- Are working on a roof.
- Could fall through a fragile surface.
- Are using a ladder or stepladder.
- Could fall into an opening in a floor or hole in the ground.
There is no minimum height within the regulations so with that in mind a sensible approach is required when considering precautions for works being carried out at height.
Before working at height you must establish if you can:
- Avoid working at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so;
- Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the correct type of equipment when the risk cannot be eliminated;
- Where works at height cannot be avoided, prevent falls by using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment.
The main requirements would be to:
- Complete a suitable risk assessment for the working at height task.
- Provide suitable information, instruction and training to all staff involved in working at height activities.
- Ensure that workers can get safely to and from where they carry out works at height.
- Provide equipment that is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly.
- Carry out as much work as possible from the ground.
- Make sure there is no overloading or overreaching when tasks at height are being carried out.
- Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces.
- Provide protection from falling objects.
- Consider your emergency plan and rescue procedures.
Questions to Consider
- Does a ladder or stepladder have to be used to carry out the task?
- Has an appropriate risk assessment been carried out?
- Is the working area suitable for the equipment to be used? e.g. segregated area, surface, obstructions, overhead power lines, etc.
- How long will the task take?
- Has the employees involved in working at height tasks received adequate information, instruction or training?
- Do any employees involved in the task suffer from vertigo or fear of heights?
- Is the equipment being used suitable for the task being carried out?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.