Frequently asked questions

HSE classifies working at height as when you:

  • work above ground/floor level

  • could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or

  • could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground

Ladders may be used when it is determined by a risk assessment that no other safer and lower risk equipment can be used and that there is a low risk because of the short duration of use. You should only use ladders when they can be used safely and where it is practicable to do so.

A working platform is now classed as:

  • a roof

  • a floor

  • mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)

  • treads of a stepladder

  • a platform on a scaffold.

Collective protection refers to equipment that doesn't require an individual to be effective. An example of this would be a guardrail.

Personal protection equipment requires an individual to do something for it to be effective. For example, this could mean putting on a safety harness correctly.

Someone working at height has to have the right skills, knowledge and experience to perform the task. If they are in the middle of training then they need to be supervised at all times in the tasks that they are carrying out.

Documents & other resources


Ladder Safety Steps

This checklist runs through the choice of ladder you take, the pre-checks you should conduct, the set-up of your ladder and how to use your ladder.


Checks to make before using Ladders

This useful checklist should be used before you use any type of ladder for any type of work. It assesses all of the parts of a ladder and aims to reduce the risk of injury.