Frequently Asked Work at Height Questions


Heightsafe’s experts have compiled a list of their most frequently asked questions on Work at Height equipment and regulations.

How do you select the right work at height system?

Selecting the right Work at Height system depends on the desired solution, as different types of Fall Protection systems are available to suit a variety of requirements. Our specialists recommend organising a Work at Height Risk Assessment to be undertaken by a competent person on your building, to advise which solution will work best for your requirements. Heightsafe’s specialists follow the hierarchy of control when selecting the most appropriate solution for you.

Is training required to use work at height systems?

Training is legally required when using Personal Fall Protection systems such as Safety Lines, Cables and Tracks – this is due to the need for activation from the user. However, when using Collective Edge Protection systems such Guardrails and Handrails, no training is legally required as no activation is needed from the user. You can learn more about the difference between collective and personal measures of protection in our informative blog post. Although not legally required, our specialists recommend that personnel who regularly Work at Height undergo Height Safety Awareness and Roof Top Safety training courses.

What should happen when a fall has occurred?

It is imperative that a formal rescue plan is in place prior to personnel entering a roof space* – the plan should also be discussed during site inductions by supervisors to ensure it is understood, whilst also providing personnel with the opportunity to raise concerns. Following a fall from a Personal Fall Arrest system such as Safety Lines, Cables and Tracks, the system will need to be tested for compliance by a competent specialist prior to it being used again.
*personnel should also hold certification for specialist Work at Height Rescue Training and be issued with appropriate rescue kits.

How often is compliance testing and maintenance required for work at height systems?

In general, most systems require inspection and testing for compliance every 6 to 12 months, dependent on the frequency of use, and specific equipment legislation. A non-compliant system can put lives at risk and render you liable in the case of an incident. Heightsafe’s unique
digital asset management tool, Prime, has been designed to offer clients the ability to fully manage and view their own portfolio, projects, and assets – using just one platform.

Is there a difference between permanent and temporary work at height systems?

Yes, there is a difference between these two types of Work at Height systems. Permanent Fall Protection systems are fixed to the roofs structure and are commonly used when regular access is required. In instances where less frequent access to roof spaces is required, temporary Fall Protection systems are commonly used.

Is there a difference between fall arrest and fall restraint?

Yes. When a fall from height occurs, Fall Arrest solutions protect personnel from being seriously injured, provided rescue plans are followed. Fall Restraint solutions prevent personnel from accessing fall hazard areas on roof spaces. It is worth noting that both solutions require personnel to wear specialist safety harnesses that connect to the Fall Protection system with a lanyard. Specialist training is also required, to ensure that personnel have sufficient knowledge of both the systems and hazards.

Are there only certain roofs that are suitable for work at height systems?

Almost all roof spaces can be equipped with a suitable Work at Height system based on maintenance requirements as well as the roof structure. Heightsafe offer Work at Height Risk Assessments to provide you with specialist guidance on the most appropriate solution for your building and maintenance requirements.

If working on a ledge, what work at height system can I use?

As per the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) hierarchy of control, collective measures of protection should always take priority wherever possible. However, in scenarios where it is not feasible to install Collective Edge Protection around ledges, personal measures of protection (Personal Fall Protection systems) should take priority. Depending on the roof structure, specialists may recommend a Horizontal, Overhead or Vertical configuration.

Do I need to wear PPE whilst using work at height systems?

Yes, some PPE is required whilst Working at Height, it is however entirely dependent on the type of system in use as to which equipment should be used. For example, if your roof space is home to a Personal Fall Protection system, personnel will need to wear the following PPE:

  • Hard hat
  • Harness
  • Lanyard (specific to the system in place and activities to be completed)
  • Travelling device (specific to the system installed)

Get in touch with Heightsafe’s specialists today for free advice on the PPE required for your Work at Height system.

What should I do to maintain my PPE?

Ensure your PPE is safe to use by conducting pre-use checks prior to entering any hazardous work environments, whilst also ensuring that equipment is clean and dry before storing in a cool, dry place when not in use. To remain compliant with regulations, PPE should be visually inspected every 6 months and fully tested for compliance once every 12 months by a competent specialist – remembering that each piece of PPE has a specified lifespan and documentation.

Who is responsible for work at height activities?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that “If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example if you are a contractor or a factory owner), the Regulations apply to you.”.

What are the regulations around working at height?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) are the three main regulations surrounding Work at Height activities.

What is RIDDOR?

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). RIDDOR puts duties on employers, self employed and people in control of work premises (the responsible person) to report upon:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Occupational diseases
  • Specified dangerous occurrences
  • Near misses

How can I report non-conformance with Work at Height Regulations?

If you see something in/on a commercial or industrial property that you believe to be in breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, you can report it to the HSE online or by phone (0300 003 1647).

Your Specialist Work at Height Partner!

Get in touch with Heightsafe’s friendly, professional team today for free, no obligation advice on your Work at Height requirements.

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