At HLS we do "working at height solutions", we help people to select and procure the most appropriate equipment to complete whatever tasks they need to do while "at height". Working at Height is a term made popular by the HSE Working at Height Regulations (2005), but is it a term that is widely understood? Read on for our definition of "working at height".
When new members of staff start work with us we tell them that working at height is: "Whenever you need to work on something that you can't reach standing on the ground". This is a very simplistic explanation, but helps as a starting point, and starts the process of understanding of the term. Another way of looking at it, is to describe how people might approach working at height, for example, People may use ladders, podium steps, mobile scaffold towers, access platforms etc to work at height. Once you start to think about how you change your light bulbs, how you clean things that are taller than you and so on it starts to becom clear just how many tasks would be classed as working at height. There are many more definitions of working at height, and the term even includes work below ground level in some circumstances - more on that in a future post.
If you are carrying out work at height for an employer, or as an employer you are asking other people to work at height then you really should read the Work at Height Regulations (2005) - you can download a copy on our Health & Safety page here: By law you must firstly avoid working at height wherever possible, but where avoidance is not possible you have a duty to select the most appropriate equipment for the job.
That can be a daunting task, especially if you are relatively new to the concept of working at height. The HSE has a guide to help you - see our earlier blog post on the HSE WAIT Toolkit. Our team can also help - we offer free site surverys to help you complete your assessments of the risks, and more importantly your specifying of the most appropriate equipment.
Working at height is a simple concept, but getting it right is vital to the safety of those doing the work, and to the bottom lines of the companies they work for. Let us know your thoughts - is working at height a useful term? or does it oversimplify what is really a complex subject?