This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Social media

Javascript is required to use HSE website social media functionality.

Assessing all work at height

What you need to do

The law requires that employers and self-employed contractors assess the risk from work at height and go on to organise and plan the work so it is carried out safely.

Try avoiding work at height, if you can. You must otherwise prevent or arrest a fall and injury if work at height is necessary.

Instruct and train your workforce in the precautions needed. Method statements are widely used in the construction industry to help manage the work and communicate what is required to all those involved.

Key issues for all work at height are:

Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, particularly on smaller projects.

Over 60% of deaths during work at height involve falls:

Risk assessment

Employers and self-employed contractors must:

Do not overcomplicate the process. For many firms your work at height risks will be well known and the necessary control measures easy to apply.

Follow the HSE Five steps to risk assessment

Precautions required

The law on work at height requires that you take account of your risk assessment in organising and planning work and identifying the precautions required. Your objective is to make sure work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

The approaches you can adopt for work at height are to:

Method statements

A method statement is a useful way of recording the hazards involved in specific work at height tasks and communicating the risk and precautions required to all those involved in the work. The statement need be no longer than necessary to achieve these objectives effectively.

The method statement should be clear and illustrated by simple sketches where necessary. Avoid ambiguities or generalisations, which could lead to confusion. Statements are for the benefit of those carrying out the work and their immediate supervisors and should not be overcomplicated.

Equipment needed for safe working should be clearly identified and available before work starts. Workers should know what to do if the work method needs to be changed.

2012-01-13