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The Work At Height Regulations 2005 – What Employers Need To Know

May 16, 2023

With falls from a height consistently found to be the biggest cause of fatal injuries within the workplace, understanding how to keep your team safe is not only essential – it’s the law.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is responsible for outlining the working-at-height legal requirements, along with the best practices that employers need to follow.

One of the main pieces of guidance is the Work At Height Regulations 2005. For almost two decades, these regulations have outlined the necessary safety steps to reduce the chances that someone can sustain a fall while at work. They apply in any scenario where workers will be working at a height, in industries such as construction, manufacturing and engineering. 

While no substitute for a qualified, regular HSE assessment, here is what you need to know about the Work at Height Regulations 2005. 

What Is Working At Height?

what is working at height

Working at height means carrying out work in any location or scenario which poses a risk of personal injury due to a fall.

You are classed as working at height if you are:

  • Above the ground or floor level
  • Working near edges, through openings or on a fragile surface

In short, it is classed as working at height if you are not on the ground level within a building or outside (i.e. you are working on a platform, near a ledge or on scaffolding etc.). 

Or, if you are working on a surface which has the potential to collapse due to being unstable, meaning the risk of a fall is also present. 

Metreel Working At Height Solutions

window cleaning equipment metreel

Don’t know which solution could provide the right protection for your team? Give us a call on 0115 932 7010.

What Is The Minimum Height For Working At Height?

Despite some sources stating the minimum height classed as working as height is 1.8m, the HSE does not in fact state a minimum height level. Instead, all instances of working at a height fall under the Work At Height Regulations 2005.

In the official HSE Work At Height guidance, the only time a height is measured is in relation to scaffolding inspections. It states that scaffolding must be inspected after assembly, after every 7 days and follow any event which could affect its liability (i.e. bad weather or trespass activity), if the scaffold is more than 2 metres high. 

Though as we’ve already established, the classification of working at height in general does not have a minimum height threshold. Instead, what we do know is that the risk of fatal injury increases the higher up your team have to work.

Research has also shown that the majority of falls happen between 0ft and 20ft. The most fatal falls are not exclusive to, but mostly occur within the 21ft to 40ft range.

What Is The Main Legislation That Covers Work At Height?

a railway or rail worker climbing a ladder on a fr 2022 11 11 06 53 22 utc from Metreel

The Work At Height Regulations 2005 offers a thorough guide to staying safe while working at a height. 

It outlines steps such as:

  • Only working at a height when it is absolutely necessary to do so
  • Using fall protection equipment and following best practices when working at height cannot be avoided
  • Minimise the potential distance and consequences of a fall wherever possible

The full document for Work At Height Regulations 2005 which we’ve linked above consists of 7 pages of information. Employers, along with all those responsible for site safety need to be aware of the regulations, and ensure these are followed at all times. 

What Do The Working At Height 2005 Regulations Apply To?

All employers and all those who control work at height must follow the Working At Height 2005 Regulations.

If an accident were to occur, liability would be on the employer who did not protect employees working at a height. 

Metreel – Fall Protection Equipment For Working At Height UK 

If you are an employer or site manager and your team works at a height, ensure they are best protected with Metreel fall protection

As noted above, we can provide a range of customised solutions in a variety of working at height scenarios. 

To browse all Metreel products, you can download our free brochure by visiting our product brochure page

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].