Understanding What Constitutes a ‘Fall Risk’ in Working-at-Height Situations

No One-Size-Fits-All: Context Matters

Defining what constitutes a ‘fall risk’ is challenging due to the lack of a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’
criterion that applies across the board. Different tasks and work environments may present varying
levels of risk, and as such, the identification of fall hazards must be contextual.

Proximity to Hazard Zones: The 2-Metre Rule

Regulations for height safety state that if you’re working within 2 metres of a fall-risk zone, appropriate
safety measures must be activated. These could range from guardrails to scaffolding and fall-arrest or
fall-restraint systems, such as lifelines. Each of these safety measures comes with its benefits and
limitations, making it essential to assess each work situation on its merits to determine the most
appropriate solution.

Sloping Surfaces: The Risks of Pitched Roofs

For tasks involving work on pitched roofs, the chances of slipping or sliding increase, necessitating
additional precautions. Solutions like walkways and fall-arrest wire systems are commonly used in these
scenarios to mitigate the risks.

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can better identify what would be regarded as a ‘fall risk’
in different working-at-height situations. This facilitates the implementation of effective safety measures
tailored to each specific task and environment.

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