Working at Height Using Scaffolding, Mobile Towers and Ladders

 work at height regulations 2005

Statistics show that falls from height are the most common cause of fatal injury and the second most common cause of major injury to employees. Companies are required to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe working environment for all employees who may be affected by work at height activities. This post covered key pieces of Work at Height Regulations 2005 legislation.

Companies shall provide a safe system of work that will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the necessary preventive and protective measures to prevent fall of persons or materials from the workplace.

When working at height is required, companies will ensure that the Work at Height Regulations 2005 are complied with and ensure that:

  • all work activities that involve work at height are identified;
  • the need to undertake work at height will be eliminated whenever it is reasonably practicable to do so;
  • risks associated with those activities where work at height cannot be eliminated are evaluated and steps are taken to control them;
  • all the necessary equipment to allow safe access to and egress from the place of work is provided;
  • all the necessary equipment to ensure adequate lighting and protection from adverse weather conditions is provided;
  • suitable plant is provided to enable the materials used or created in the course of the work to be safely lifted to and from the workplace and stored there if necessary;
  • any working platform and its supporting structures are selected and/or designed in accordance with current standards;
  • regular inspections of all equipment required for working at height are undertaken;
  • competent persons are appointed to be responsible for the supervision of all work at height and associated activities; and
  • Planning for emergencies and rescue are made

Work at Height Regulations 2005 – Scaffolding and Towers

In line with the Work at Height Regulations 2005, all scaffolding and towers installed and used shall be constructed of materials and components which have been inspected and proven suitable. All work involved in the installation, use and dismantling of scaffolding and towers shall be undertaken by suitably qualified and experienced persons.

When utilising scaffolding or towers you must ensure that:

  • they are erected to recognised standards or manufacturers’ instructions by trained, competent and authorised operatives;
  • a competent person will inspect them before use and after adaptation, alteration or the effects of adverse weather conditions etc. and in any case every 7 days;
  • the results of the inspection will be recorded in a prescribed format;
  • ‘Scaffold incomplete notices’ will be displayed as required;
  • ladders will be removed or secured to prevent unauthorised access after working hours;
  • special scaffolds are subject of design or calculations;
  • design drawings and calculations for special scaffolds shall be available on site for the information of the person carrying out inspections etc.;
  • scaffolding will be secured against bad weather conditions and short boards secured down;
  • edge protection measures will not be removed unless authorised and will be replaced as soon as the need to remove it has expired;
  • no persons will be permitted to remain on tower scaffolds during the moving and repositioning of them;
  • when moving tower scaffolds they are pushed via the narrowest side at the bottom of the tower brakes will be set when used;
  • the safe working load of scaffolds, loading-bays and working platforms will be established, displayed and not exceeded;
  • materials will not be stored on working platforms so as to exceed the edge protection;
  • All scaffold structures will be properly earthed where a risk of lightning strikes exists

Ladders: including step-ladders and podium steps:

Ladders should be used primarily for access. If used as a work platform, ladders should only be used for light work of short duration and only after a risk assessment carried out under the Working at Height Regulations 2005 has demonstrated alternative methods are unsuitable.

When ladders are used you must ensure that they are:-

  • used by trained and competent operatives only;
  • subject of an inspection regime with records of inspections maintained;
  • visually inspected by operatives before use;
  • marked with a means of identifying them;
  • Class 1 ‘Industrial’ or EN131 ladders or stepladders for use at work and they are a suitable size for the work;
  • in good condition and free from defects;
  • secured against movement;
  • pitched out to a 75º angle (4-1) with the reinforcement under the rungs;
  • rise at least 1 metre above a landing place;
  • free from obstruction at their base area;
  • used by only one person at a time;
  • Overhead cables will be identified and made safe when working at height.

Operatives will:-

  • maintain three points of contact at all times;
  • not use the top 3 rungs when used as a work platform;
  • not ‘over reach’;
  • Not carry materials or tools when ascending or descending ladders

When step ladders are used they will be:-

  • suitable and sufficient for purpose;
  • used on safe, level ground;
  • used for short duration and light work;
  • properly ‘set up’ and not inclined against walls etc.;
  • Operative not to use top 2 steps or to over reach

If you need assistance with the Work at Height Regulations 2005, please do not hesitate to contact Graham Hyslop our Business Development Manager on 0800 069 8970 / 07702 130 639 or via email If you have a HR enquiry then please don’t hesitate to contact the HR Team on 0800 069 8970.

For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland Ltd, please get in touch with us by contacting the above phone number or via the links below.