What you can do to stay safe when working at height

Last updated: 05 Mar 2020

Although your employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that suitable precautions are taken when working at height, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself.

These include:

  • Do as much work as possible from the ground
  • Before works starts, check that the equipment you are using is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, and does not have any defects (see below)
  • Do not overload the equipment or overreach
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
  • Ensure you know about the emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
  • If you are using a leaning ladder:

    • Check it’s condition before use (see below)
    • Make sure it’s at an angle of 75°
    • Make sure it has been secured, either by tying it to a suitable point, using a stability device, or it getting a colleague to foot it.

Before using a ladder or step ladder, you should check the following:

  • Stiles – make sure they are not bent or damaged, as the ladder could collapse.
  • Feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip.
  • Rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail.
  • Locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged, the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged.
  • Stepladder platform – if it is split or buckled the ladder could become unstable.
  • Steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on steps, they could collapse.

Get help

If you have further questions about this contact us for more help.