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What is reasonably practicable?

General safety on site is set out in lists upon on lists of legal documents detailing exactly how certain equipment should be used, what voltage of machinery is to be used, what fire extinguishers should be used etc. Working at Height is much the same. However, the HSE advise that Working at Height should be avoided where it’s ‘reasonably practicable’ to do so.

In short this means that the operative needs to balance out the level of risk harm against the level of risk to time, money and trouble. Now this can be considered as very subjective – they say ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

So how do you equip yourself with the best knowledge to make these decisions?


All operatives who access roofs should undertake a Work at Height and Basic Harness Awareness training course. This course will equip the attendee with the knowledge they need to safely evaluate the situation and decide what is ‘reasonably practicable.’

Fall Arrest or Fall Restraint – do you know the difference?

You need to. If you have a fall arrest safety line system on the roof then the user has the potential to fall over the edge whilst still attached. Is that user rescue trained? Do they have a rescue kit with them?

Without taking these measures, accidents can happen – and will! So next time you hire a company to access your roof, ask to see their qualifications. Paying for a specialist company may cost more in the short run but it will protect you in the long run.

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