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Working at height

Falls from height are the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury across all sectors of industry and commerce. In 2005, the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) were introduced to consolidate existing legislation on working at height and to implement the requirements of European Council Directive (2001/45/EC). The Regulations were amended in 2007 to include organised climbing and caving activities led by paid instructors.

Corporate Health and Safety Standards and Guidance document OHS-C-13 describes the general principles which apply to work at height, and provides guidance and information in summary form on what you need to do to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The information will be of relevance and interest to managers, supervisors, those in day-to-day charge of premises, Persons in Control, Designers (in the context of the CDM Regulations) and employees. Some typical work areas where WAHR may apply include:

  • Construction Work
  • Fixed Plant, vehicle and buildings maintenance
  • Access and carrying out roof inspections
  • Work on or near fragile surfaces through which a person could fall
  • Decoration
  • Excavations (including trench work and grave digging)
  • Work in or near pits, sewers, ducts or empty swimming pools
  • Loading and unloading of vehicles & trailers
  • Using and working from ladders and stepladders
  • Rope access work, including organised caving or climbing ‘leisure’ activities involving paid instructors or leaders.

Document  OHS-C-13.G1 is relevant managers, supervisors, designers (including external appointments), contractors and employees who authorise, specify, oversee or carry out work at height.

HSE documents below are current versions at 25th October 2013. Please visit to confirm the latest versions.

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