Work at Height

Q& ASafety, Health and Welfare at Work (Working at Heights) Regulations, 2006.
JUNE 2006

Your Questions Answered
The new Working at Height regulations introduce minimum standards for health and safety for all work that is conducted at height regardless of the amount of time the task takes. For work that last longer than a day, these regulations will have little impact as they follow the requirements of the Construction regulations. Where they do have an impact is that now there are clear standards that must be complied with for shorter term activities conducted at height where previously this may have been open to interpretation.



regulations, which talk in terms of ‘at height’ being “if a person could be injured falling from it”, even if it is at or below ground level. However, this does not include falls at the same level (for example someone tripping over) or falling down a fixed staircase as these are already dealt with under the Workplace Regulations. As part of your systematic risk assessments, you must look at the work that employees are required to undertake. For some of these task, it will be easy to establish if they are part of the definition of working at heights. Some, however, may be less obvious. For example: • Cleaning activities: do employees have to use step ladders to clean light fittings or high places? • Access: do employees have to use steps to access files or products? • Maintenance: changing lights or maintaining lighting, ventilation, electric and general

The short answer is no, working at heights is not illegal. In a similar way to other inherently

hazardous tasks like confined space entry and working on live electrical components, the regulations do not forbid working at heights, but they do ask employers to carefully consider reasonably practicable alternatives and where work at heights does have to take place, that the method used is safe, planned and supervised. The...