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I'm working at height - What are the height safety regulations?

Some situations do require additional safety, but not all. In today's rapidly developing workplace you cannot assume one situation will be the same as the next, and therefore you should have at least a basic knowledge of what is and is not deemed a 'safe working zone'.

How do I eliminate fall hazards?

There are three steps you should always consider before working at height:

1) Eliminate risk from the work -


Can you eliminate the need to work at height? (E.g. Carry out the task working from ground-level)




2) Guard the user from accessing hazard -

If not, can you prevent personnel from accessing the danger area? (E.g. install a guardrail system)




3) Protect worker against the hazard -


If not, can a system be used to minimise the consequences of a fall? (E.g. install a fall-arrest system)





The risk of falling when working at height needs to be assessed to determine whether it is safe or not to carry out work without additional safety systems or equipment. 

How should I carry out a Risk Assessment?

Assess the hazard against the following aspects:
• What are the risks?
• How serious could the result be of an injury?
• What is the likelihood of the injury occurring?
• Decide on precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the risk
• Record significant findings, and
• Review the assessment as required

This should not be overcomplicated, but ensure all significant aspects are covered.

If the Risk Assessment reveals no further safety measures are required then works can proceed as normal.

Knowledge base - How to assess the risks of working at height

Knowledge base - How to control the risks in your workplace

Where does a ‘fall-risk’ begin?

That’s a difficult question because there is no ‘yes’, ‘no’ table which tells you the exact answer for each situation. However, height safety regulations do state specific areas which must be considered, which in turn can help to determine the risk level.

• If you are working closer than 2m to a fall-risk zone safety measures should be put in place, for example guardrail, scaffolding, fall-arrest systems, or even demarcation barriers. Each system has different benefits and uses meaning every situation must be considered on its own merits.
• On most pitched roofs where your chances of slipping or sliding could put you in a fall-risk area. These are commonly overcome with the use of
walkway and fall-arrest wire systems.


Useful terms and definitions in the height safety industry
Fall protection

Prevention of an operative from going into a free fall by way of rigid barrier or similar protection medium

Fall prevention

Prevention of the user of fall protection equipment from going into a free fall

Fall arrest
Prevention of the user of a fall arrest system from colliding with the ground or structure in a free fall

Note: a fall arrest system will not prevent a fall but should minimise the risk of injury in the event of a fall

Fall mitigation
Reduction in the severity of the hazards and risks associated with fall protection
Fall/Work restraint
Personal fall protection system that restricts the travel of the user away
from potentially hazardous areas

Work positioning
Fall protection system that enables the user to work supported in tension or suspension in such a way that the fall is prevented.

(Please note, work positioning is neither classed as fall arrest or work restraint)


For all your fall arrest system requirements, talk to the team at STQ Vantage. Call 01935 474 602, send us a message or email safety@stqvantage.co.uk