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Health and Safety When Working at Height

It’s no secret that working at height is risky work. With a number of risks such as falls and slips or objects falling down onto the ground below and causing damage or injury, it’s vital for anybody heading a project working at height to carry out a series of rigorous health and safety checks and ensure that all necessary safety equipment is available and working before the work can begin. When working on a roof or at any other height, you can never take too many safety precautions.

Risk Assessment

The risk assessments should be carried out early into the planning stages. This will ensure that you know exactly what is needed to ensure that all the correct health and safety precautions are taken before the work is started, and which equipment your workers will need. If possible, carry out multiple risk assessments to ensure that everything is covered before the project begins – after all, you can never be too cautious when working at height. The risk assessment should include any slopes or dangerous areas on the roof or platform as well as the height that workers should expect to be working from. You should also take note of any equipment which will be used, and take into account any risks that it poses. From the information which you gather, you should be able to determine which health and safety guidelines and equipment need to be used.

Safety Equipment

Since working at height has a reputation for posing a number of great risks, there is a lot of different safety equipment and access tools which are designed specifically for its purpose. Your workers should be fitted with fall protection equipment, usually in the form of a harness worn that will prevent them from falling should they slip or fall on the roof. Guards or panels around the edge of the roof should also be set up to prevent any items or people from falling over the edge in the event of an accident. If the project is over a number of different elevated surfaces, you’ll also need to set up an access walkway – see roof walkways from AKM for more information.


Correct and thorough training is a vital part of working at height. You should never let a worker on a roof unsupervised if they have not undergone the correct training and have enough experience to be left working on the roof or at height alone. When it comes to erecting access equipment, it’s absolutely essential that those who do so are trained and competent to do so. Before allowing anyone to work on the roof, you should ensure that you have seen proof of their training documentation and are sure that they are able to do the job. Further to that, there should be site supervisors available at all times who are not only fully trained and competent when it comes to working at height, but also able to carry out ongoing health and safety risk assessments throughout the duration of the project.
Working at height requires you to make health and safety the top priority.
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