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Working at Height

Hazard Related Topics


Consideration must be given to both internal, and external, high level working which may take place during construction or as a necessary part of the structure's future maintenance and repair. The major cause of serious and fatal injuries is falls from heights while at working positions or whilst getting to or from them. It is important then to improve safety during the construction phase by designing in features which allow for safer installation at high level. It may be possible to design the structure in a way that will allow for much of the assembly to be made at ground level, on erected floor slabs or decks in the structure, or off site, to minimise the need to assemble at high level.


Safe means of access

Consider whether the design can be made to allow for the installation of permanent floors, stairs and walkways as erection progresses thus allowing safer access and working places for construction workers.

Lifting points

Consider whether components to be lifted can be fitted with lugs etc. to make the operation less hazardous.

Safe routes and walkways

Whether permanent or temporary. consider whether such structures can be erected at an early stage in the project to provide construction crews with safe access.

Safety barriers and guard rails

For example at floor edges or around voids. Remember the requirement for toe boards to reduce the possibility of falling objects.

Safer access

Consider including fixings for temporary harness or scaffolding at the design stage.

Safer design

Consider the possibility of designing steel columns with climbing flats welded to the top to facilitate safer erection, or extra holes in components for use with girder grip attachments, or fall arrest devices.


The Working at Height Regulations 2005 contain provisions about scaffolding, ladders, working platforms, gangways and associated equipment and items required for work to be done off the ground. It also provides for the prevention of falls into excavations and water etc.

The HSE also provide further help in their Guidance Note series obtainable from HSE Books.