Working at Height

Work at height is work in any place, including a place at, above or below ground level, where a person could be injured if they fell from that place. Access and egress to a place of work can also be work at height. 

Examples of work activities that are classified as working at height:

  • Working on a ladder/step ladder
  • Working on a kick stool
  • Working on a roof
  • Working near or adjacent to fragile materials
  • Inspection of plant on roofs
  • Putting up stage lighting

Requirements for employers

The Work at Height Regulations require employers to ensure that:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • A risk assessment is carried out for all work conducted at height
  • Appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • People working at a height are competent
  • Equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained
  • Risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled 

The risk assessment should include a careful examination of what harm could be caused from working at height with a view to taking the effective steps to reduce the likelihood of this harm occurring, either through avoiding the activity or, where this is not reasonably practicable, by carrying it out in a safe manner using work equipment that is appropriate to the task and the level of risk. A permit to work may be required. 

Principles for Safe Working at Height

  • Avoid work at height wherever possible 
  • Work at height must be planned, supervised and safe 
  • Prepare a written risk assessment 
  • Use equipment that protects the largest number of people in preference to individual equipment 
  • All working at height equipement should  be inspected by the user prior to use (refer to procedure below)
  • Ladders are only for work of short duration. Maintain 3 points of contact 
  • Work platforms must have top and intermediate handrails and toeboards
  • Protect all edges and openings where a fall could occur 
  • All portable ladders should be registered with DCU Estates Office for inclusion in the periodic inspection programme.

DCU Working at Height (Portable Ladders) Procedure

DCU Working at Height Safety Equipment Manual - Kick Stools and Mobile Step Ladders