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The Definitive Work at Height Safety Checklist

At times, it can be challenging to return to a routine having spent time away from the office. We have all been in the difficult position of picking up where we left off having been on a planned holiday for a week or two. As a result of a unique set of circumstances, sooner rather than later, virtually the entire Work at Height industry will find itself returning to dormant sites and absent offices nationwide. This period of 2020 will constitute the most prolonged time frame most of us will have ever spent away from our work stations.

Ensure Work at Height Safety is Top of the Agenda When Returning to Work.

Many will already be apprehensive about the seemingly impossible workload we will all return to and, specifically, how to prioritise our schedules. As it is currently, the safety of our operatives and employees needs to remain the key focus. Accordingly, Heightsafe have published a definitive checklist to ensure Work at Height safety remains a paramount priority and to enable companies to manage its various aspects effectively during this time.

Who is responsible for the safety of employees and external personnel?

Work at Height regulations 2005 specifies that ‘duty holders’ are responsible for ensuring that Work at Height is performed safely. There are 3 categories of ‘duty holder’ defined as the following:

• Anyone who will be conducting Work at Height

• Anyone managing others who are performing Work at Height

• Anyone responsible for a structure or site where Work at Height will is performed

If one or more of these categories apply to you, then you are defined as a Work at Height ‘duty holder’, and the following information is relevant to you.

Work at Height Training

Have all operatives, internal and external, been trained to use and understand the work at height systems that they will be using?

‘Duty holders’ are responsible for ensuring that all operatives are trained in procedures they may be required to perform at height. This also includes the systems that they may be required to use and any personal protective equipment that they may be required to use.

To be confident, you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

• Is the work at height operative able to perform basic risk assessments?

• Is the work at height operative able to use systems in situ correctly?

• Does the work at height operative know how to identify damage to a system?

• Can a Work at Height operative identify when a system does not comply with the necessary compliance standards?

• Can the work at height operative perform a basic self-rescue or rescue of others if needed?


Have you referenced the Hierarchy of Control and determined the most suitable system for the task?

A suitable system must be in place, taking into consideration the procedures that are going to be performed using the system as well as the frequency of use. The Work at Hierarchy must be considered when deciding on the suitability of a system.

The Work at Height Hierarchy asks:

• Can Work at Height be avoided?

• Can Collective Edge Protection be installed?

• Can a Fall Restraint System be installed?

• A Fall Arrest System will have to be installed; however, as this system requires user interaction, it is crucial that the operative receives appropriate training.

PPE for Working at Height

Have your personnel been issued with the correct Personal Protective Equipment?

As with any hazardous job, appropriate personal protective equipment is essential when Working at Height. Specifically, when utilising personal fall protection equipment such as fall restraint and arrest systems or rope access systems safety, harnesses and lanyards are a legal requirement.

To be confident, you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

• Has the individual received specific training for selecting and applying the appropriate PPE?

• Has the PPE been specified specifically for the individual?

• Has the PPE been stored appropriately during the absence from the site?


Do your Work at Height systems, Façade Access systems and PPE comply with current regulatory standards?

Systems, PPE and structural integrity, should all be considered in terms of compliance and inspections. Compliance certifications may have lapsed during the time spent away from the site or the office. This must be reviewed and rectified upon your return as work will not be able to go ahead without proof of compliance to legislative requirements and insurances may be invalidated.


Do any of your systems need maintenance, and have you consulted your PPM schedule?

Systems and building fabric were subject to unusually inclement weather in the first two months of 2020 with the various storms that afflicted the UK. Routinely, systems and structures would be inspected for damage at this time after the winter period. However, due to these uncharacteristic events, the opportunity to perform these inspections has not been presented and so should be a priority upon return.


The information aforementioned in this blog is a small extract of a much larger portfolio of checklists that will be published in the weeks that follow. It is our objective to ensure that returning to our roles in the Work at Height industry is both as safe and seamless as possible. Key members of our specialist teams are still on hand to assist you with any requirements you may have at this difficult time and the entire team looks forward to managing your queries once this catastrophe has subsided.

Related Products and Services

Work at Height Systems

Collective and personal measures of Fall Protection for personnel Working at Height on commercial and industrial buildings.

Roof Access

Specialist access systems designed to create safe working environments for personnel who Work at Height.

Façade Access Systems

Suspended access solutions for rope access technicians abseiling down high-rise buildings to complete maintenance works.

Compliance Testing Services

Expert compliance testing and maintenance services for Work at Height, Roof Access, Façade Access and Lightning Protection systems.

Work at Height Training

Quality training for personnel and contractors who Work at Height to complete cleaning and maintenance works.

Fabric Maintenance Services

High level fabric maintenance services from specialist steam cleaning to building restoration, all available via rope access.

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Keeping Your Personnel Safe at Height!

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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