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Step-by-step guide

Considering the risks associated with work at height and putting in place sensible and proportionate measures to manage them is an important part of working safely. Follow this simple step-by-step guide to help you control risks when working at height.

Can you avoid working at height in the first place? If no, go to prevent

Do as much work as possible from the ground. Some practical examples include:

Can you prevent a fall from occurring? If no, go to minimise

You can do this by:

Some practical examples of collective protection when using an existing place of work:

Some practical examples of collective protection using work equipment to prevent a fall:

An example of personal protection using work equipment to prevent a fall:

Can you minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall?

If the risk of a person falling remains, you must take sufficient measures to minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall.

Practical examples of collective protection using work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall:

An example of personal protection used to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall:

Using ladders and stepladders

For tasks of low risk and short duration, ladders and stepladders can be a sensible and practical option.

If your risk assessment determines it is correct to use a ladder, you should further minimise the risk by making sure workers:

Follow HSE guidance on safe use of ladders and stepladders.

For each step, consider what is reasonably practicable and use ‘collective protection’ before ‘personal protection’

Updated: 2014-01-29