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How To Choose The Right Working From Height Equipment

July 27, 2023

Every occupation has risks associated that need to be identified so that those risks for workers can be best reduced. 

When it comes to working at a height, many industries such as construction, manufacturing and engineering along with those who carry out building maintenance often work above ground level.

As we’ve covered many times before on the Metreel blog, falls remain the biggest killer of workers on the job in the UK. Therefore, safety equipment is always required whenever someone works at a height.

Metreel supplies a range of safety equipment for heights, as part of our fall protection and work access products. 

While no substitute for a tailored health and safety assessment, here is a general overview of what to consider when choosing to work from height equipment. 

What Types Of Equipment Are There For Working At Height?

Based on your industry and the type of work involved, you may already have a feel for the kinds of working at height equipment that apply. That said, it’s still good to be aware of all the options since these could prove more convenient for your team while improving safety and productivity simultaneously. 

Remember: There is no ‘safe’ distance when it comes to heights, since for every foot off the ground, the risk of injury or death increases. So that statistic doesn’t apply to your team, you must choose the correct safety equipment to protect against trips, slips and falls when working at a height. 

Abseil Rope Access

how to safely clean windows metreel abseil

Abseil equipment allows workers to access difficult-to-reach sites such as the sides of buildings, when the ability to scale up and down large heights is also required. Crucially, rope access means the use of scaffolding, cradles or an aerial platform is not required, as workers are fully secured by their harnesses whilst connected to a fall protection anchor system. 

Did you know? Metreel can create bespoke abseil systems including rail abseil systems. 

Boom Lifts (Cherry Pickers)

Telescopic Boom Lift.G11.2k from Metreel

Boom lifts (also known as cherry pickers) can be trailer-mounted or self-propelled, and consist of a small platform which is operated via a hydraulic arm. While boom lifts can be used indoors or outdoors, they are most commonly seen outdoors for building access. It’s possible to find boom lifts which can extend up to 30m. Though, they have a small platform size limiting the number of workers who can use them at once, and renting a boom lift can be very expensive. 

Fall Arrest Systems

unnamed 1 from Metreel

Fall arrest systems are used when other types of fall protection cannot be used and aim to limit both the potential for and the severity of falls. Here at Metreel, our products span travelling bridges, swing arm systems, free-standing monorails and ceiling-mounted monorails. Depending on the system, our fall arrest products can provide up to 12m of fall protection. 

Fall Restraint Systems

13 FallRestraint V1 1 from Metreel

Fall restraint systems protect people from falling from a height. The systems such as the Met-Track® Travelling Ladders or the Met-Track® Cradle Suspension work by holding the person in place. This limits their available movement, such as not being able to approach the edge of a building. 

Ladders (Standard)

Ladder.I07.2k from Metreel

A pair of typical ladders can be used for much smaller heights, simple tasks and for short durations (under 30 minutes) only. The person using the ladder should maintain 3 points of contact. The ground should also be level and secure. There is no legal maximum height limit for using a pair of ladders, though the risk of using ladders will invariably increase with each foot above the ground. 


Scaffolding.G02.2k from Metreel

Scaffolding structures provide access for construction or maintenance crews and can be up to 12 metres tall. Scaffolding requires expert installation by qualified crews, and those who use scaffolding also need to know how to do so safely. For long-term projects, scaffolding can be used to advertise the project by applying advertising banners known as scaffold wrap. However, wrap may also be needed to protect the passing public from construction debris and noise.  

Scissor Lifts

Engine Powered Scissor Lift.H06.2k from Metreel

Scissor lifts have a platform that is supported by hydraulic or electric lifting systems. When not extended, the supports are compacted together and resemble a set of scissors, which is how scissor lifts got their name. Scissor lifts have some similarities with boom lifts, although typically have larger platforms. 

Vertical Access Ladders 

Ladder.I16.2k from Metreel

Vertical access ladders (also known as fixed ladders) are permanently installed on building structures. They provide safe access to areas such as rooftops, platforms and other raised structures that would be otherwise difficult to access. Metreel vertical access ladders can have custom features including folding rungs or guardrails. 

Metreel Fall Protection Equipment

Want to learn more about each of our working at height products? Click on each link to learn more. Or give our team a call using the contact information above for tailored advice. 

How Do I Decide Which Working At Height Equipment I Need?

As an employer or someone entrusted with buying safety equipment, you should be able to find safety details on any product listings. These will detail the product’s suitability, along with any limitations of that product. It is then a case of ensuring that the requirements of your team can be safely met with any product type or product variation.

Some questions you may want to consider include:

  • What heights will my teams be working at?
  • Will my team be working at a variety of heights (therefore possibly requiring either varying types of equipment or flexible equipment), or similar heights? 
  • Will my team be working solo or with others?
  • What is the ground surface like, and will my equipment be suitable? 
  • How long will my team be working at a height for? 
  • Can the area where my team will be working be accessed easily or not? 
  • What is the weight of any other equipment my team needs to carry? 
  • How often does the equipment need to be inspected and maintained, and how will my business keep track of this? 

A working at height assessment should be carried out first which will help you answer these questions. It is also good to consider whether there will be any other potential safety issues to navigate, such as obstructions from buildings or power lines. 

Metreel – Purchase Fall Protection Equipment UK 

Does your business require equipment to protect your team while working at a height? 

Metreel provides various types of safety equipment to businesses in the UK and beyond. 

Alternatively, if you’re ready to place an order or have any questions, please give us a call on 0115 932 7010 or email us at [email protected].