Duty of an employer to prevent workplace falls from height
It is the duty of an employer to protect their employees from all accidents and injuries in the workplace. They must comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and do all that is reasonably practical to prevent any employee from falling at work.
Avoid work at height when possible:
Where possible, employers should avoid asking their employees to work at heights. Where that is not possible the employer must carry out a suitable and proper risk assessment to assess the risk of falling and the risk of injury and to identify steps that can be taken to reduce the risks to the lowest practicable level.
Provide suitable equipment:
If working at heights is necessary, equipment should be used which prevents falls from heights. For example, if ladders are to be used they must be suitable and appropriate for the work and conditions, the proper height and fitted with suitable anti-slip devices, stabilisers or other method to ensure that the ladder is secure.Platforms are often a safer option than ladders and should be used where possible.
If the risk of falling from a height cannot be completely eliminated, appropriate safety equipment should be provided which minimises the distance the person is at risk of falling – for example a safety harness.
Provide proper training:
Employers should also make sure that their employees are properly trained for working at height, that all of the equipment they are provided with is suitable, inspected regularly and properly maintained and that the employee is fully trained in the use of any equipment provided. Risk assessments should continue to be reviewed and updated and the work reviewed to take into account any changing conditions.
Any drops or significant changes in level within the workplace should be protected by suitable barriers to prevent falls