Guide

Work safely at height or in a confined space

Planning to work safely at height

You need to take steps to reduce the risks of falls that could cause personal injury to anyone on your premises or site. This includes employees, visitors and contractors.

When planning work at height you must make sure:

  • all work is properly planned and appropriately supervised
  • all work takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety
  • those involved in work at height are trained and competent
  • the place for working at height is safe
  • equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected
  • the risks from fragile surfaces and falling objects are properly controlled
  • you have plans in place to cover emergencies
  • you have rescue plans in place 

Safe working platforms

Where possible you need to ensure the work is carried out from a safe working platform. This may be an existing structure, such as a flat roof. If the existing structure isn't suitable you'll have to provide a safe working platform, such as a mobile elevated work platform. All work should be be carried out from inside the basket.

All work on a roof is high risk and high safety standards are essential however long the work will take. You must identify the risks before the work starts. Make sure you provide the necessary equipment, appropriate precautions and systems of work and that workers use them.

Remember that workers should only use ladders should light work for short periods (15-30 minutes, depending on the task). Use them as a means of access, rather than as a work platform.

Safety equipment

Where you cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, you must use work equipment or other measures that will minimise the consequences of a fall. This may include nets or airbags.

Alternatively, you might raise the floor level using a temporary platform. 

If lifting or manual handling forms part of the work, such as moving heavy equipment or materials up to a height, you could consider using lifts and hoists to reduce the risk of accidents.

Anyone working with this type of equipment must have the appropriate training. They must have the skills, knowledge and experience to set up and use it.