The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Hierarchy of Control for Work at Height

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working at height is one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries.

Falls from ladders and through fragile roofs are all too common.  

Work at height means work in any place, including at or below ground level, where a person could fall a distance liable to cause injury.

But employers and individuals can take simple, practical measures to reduce the risk of falling while working at height.

Employers must make sure that all work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out by people who are competent.

This means workers need the skill, knowledge, and experience to work up high.

This must include the use of the right type of equipment for work at height.

To prevent or minimize risk when planning for work at height, consider what needs to be done and take a sensible, risk-based approach to identify suitable precautions.

At the Risk Tool Box, we promotes the use of the hierarchy of control to minimize the risk of a falling.

The hierarchy should be followed systematically and only when one level is not reasonably practicable should the next level be considered.

If at all possible, start out by avoiding work at height so as to eliminate the hazard.

If possible, work from the ground or partly from the ground.


If work at height cannot be avoided, use appropriately engineered equipment to minimize the risk of a fall occurring; the distance a person could fall; or the consequences of a fall if one occurs.

 Engineered controls include scaffolds, edge-protection, nets, soft landing systems, reach-poles, systems to lower objects (e.g. lights) to the ground, and measures that protect the individual.

Always make sure the surface/access equipment in use is stable and strong enough to support the worker’s weight and that of any equipment.

Also think about procedures and other "administrative" controls.

Can workers get safely to and from where they want to work at height?

Have you thought about emergency evacuation and rescue procedures?

Is the equipment used for work at height well maintained and inspected regularly?

And remember...

Don’t overload ladders;

Don't overreach on ladders or stepladders;

Don't use ladders or stepladders if the nature of the work is deemed to be ‘heavy’ or if the task will take longer than thirty minutes or so to complete;

Don't use ladders if workers cannot maintain three points of contact at the working position; and

Don't let anyone who is not competent (someone who doesn’t have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job) carry out work at height.

And lastly, consider the requirement for personal protective equipment.

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Working at height Railway Safety Kinetic Energy SPE HSE Innovation Award Safety "one per-center's" Hazardous Substances Fatigue Management Shell Santos Best bars in the oil patch Office Safety Emergency Response Process Hazard Management Crane lifts NOPSEMA Total ENI Australia Hess Procedure Training Course Behaviour-based Safety (BBS) Safety Video Thank God it's Friday OSHA PPE Management of Change Risk Assessment Social Responsibility Save our Seafarers Campaign Manufacturing Raspberry Ketones Scam Farm safety Natural Hazard Nanotechnology Ladder Safety BP Isolation Control Electrical hazards Incident Investigation Job Safety Analysis Oil Spill Response US OSHA CSB Fire Prevention Unconventional Gas NORM Unconventional Oil Hazard Awareness Shale Gas Risk Tool Box Nautronix Hot work Call Centers Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) Work in Confined Spaces Slips, trips and falls Safety Culture Survey HSE Leadership MSDS Bio-hazards Catostrophic Disaster Marine Safety Kellogg Joint Venture Global Harmonized System Toolbox talk Situational Awareness Working with explosives IFAP Safety Information Posters Supervision Safety Moment Safety Alert Contract Risk Management Sakhalin Energy one per center Rail Safety Unconventional Hydrocarbons Newfield Energy Model of Hazards Road Transport Risk Management WorkSafe WA UK HSE ALARP Safety Management Program Aviation Safety Safety Awards Safe at Home NOPSA Pollution prevention Safety Conference Hospital Safety WMC Resources Psycho-social Hazards Manual handling Rosedale Abbey Hierarchy of Safety Control Water Corporation Health Excavations Coal Seam Gas Occupational Overuse Syndrome Customer Testimonial TK Shipping BHP Billiton Australian OSH Codes of Practice Drilling Procedures Walking LOTO Safety PowerPoint Presentation Mining Salute to Our Hero's Chevron Radiation Sources Construction Safety OHS Law WA Resources Safety Hazard Spotting Workplace bullying Woodside Driving Safety APPEA Hydraulic Fracturing ("fracking")


Blog / Terms of Use / Site Map / Disclaimer / Risk Management Tool Box 2009. All rights reserved. Web design by Luminosity. E-Commerce by JStores.