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Working at Heights — Is Your Business Legally Compliant?

08 Nov 2017

Are you an employer, facilities manager or building owner who employs or contracts people to work at height?  If so, The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to you.  It’s your responsibility to make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people to minimise the risk of personal injury.

What happens if you fail to comply with regulations?

Failure to comply can result in fatal injuries as well as a crippling fine and complete loss of reputation.

A London building services company has just been fined more than £96,000 after a worker fell three meters through an opening in a flat roof.  He suffered four fractured vertebrae, a fractured rib and a scalp wound.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to take measures to prevent the accident and had failed to properly plan the project.  HSE Inspector Owen Rowley said:  ‘It is vitally important that those in control of work at height implement suitable and sufficient measures to prevent falls. The simple step of installing edge protection around the opening could have prevented this incident from occurring.’

What is ‘working at height’?

Working at height is when employees or contractors could fall from:

  • one level to a lower level (excluding a fall from a permanent staircase)
  • an edge
  • ground level into an opening in the ground

How can you make sure you comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 state that ‘you must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anyone falling’ and ‘avoid work at height’ where you can.  Under the Regulations it’s statutory for employers to ensure that:

  • work at height is properly planned and organised
  • workers are competent and trained
  • a full risk assessment has been undertaken and appropriate measures taken
  • the risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • equipment is regularly inspected and maintained
  • the risks from falling objects are properly controlled
  • account has been taken of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety.

How can NDC help you to meet your legal obligations?


Our experienced, fully-qualified OHSAS18001 Lead Auditors can highlight areas of non-compliance, providing you with the steps necessary to meet the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  We can provide a gap analysis of your full health and safety management system, or simply focus on helping you to develop Work at Height policies, procedures and manuals.

HSE Manager

Download our HSE Manager health and safety management tool on Google Play and App Store for instant access to:

  • Assistance with completion of risk assessments
  • Help with creation of safe systems of work (SSOW)
  • Health and safety audits and legal compliance
  • Top level documentation review, including health and safety policy, manual and procedures.
  • On-site and remote technical support, consultancy advice and training.

Risk assessment

We can support you by conducting your on-site assessments for you or training you to become competent and confident Work at Height risk assessors.


One requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to provide employees with information and training. NDC offers courses that will raise the awareness and competence of your workforce:

Work at Height Course

A half-day course which gives delegates a thorough understanding of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007.

Task-based Risk Assessment (IOSH approved)

A 4-day course providing the knowledge and skills to meet all your risk assessment responsibilities in relation to general, CoSHH, DSE, manual handling and work at height. We can deliver individual components of this course on request.

According to the HSE, last year falls from a height accounted for a quarter of fatal workplace injuries. The best way for your business to minimise risk is by being compliant with legislation. NDC provides you with the reassurance that you are meeting the Work at Height Regulations for the benefit of your employees and your business.

Contact us to see how we can help your business.

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