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Working at Height remains a major issue for the HSE to tackle. Falls through fragile roofs, roof lights and from ladders have resulted in numerous prosecutions. However, an accident does not always have to occur for an investigation to start.

A breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 can lead to serious financial penalties. Breaches can lead to a Crown Court case. The highest fine to date under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 was as a result of a fall through a fragile roof light. You can expect an investigation to commence if your employees do not comply with the Work at Height Regulations (2005).

What Will Happen?

All work at height should be properly planned and organised. No matter how clear you are in relation to working at height, some employees may not follow your instructions. It is vital that all work at height is properly supervised, so that you become aware of any employees not working safely.

If you do not deal appropriately with employees who do not work at height safely, it is possible that a report may be made to the HSE or the Local Authority, or that the regulator may become aware of the unsafe standards of working practice. If that is the case, they may start an investigation. You will have to provide evidence that reflects the following:

  • The business avoids work at height unless necessary
  • The business uses appropriate equipment to prevent falls, where working at height is necessary
  • Equipment or other measures are used to minimise the consequences and distance of falls where working at height is necessary

An accident is more likely to happen if workers are not working safely. If an accident happens, the HSE will start an investigation. 

How Can We Help?

We can assist SMEs with any specialist questions in relation to working at height or relating to work that is being undertaken by a contractor at their premises. Our team of experts will provide straight-forward and clear advice quickly and practically. This advice will be legally privileged, and therefore, should an investigation start at any later stage, this advice would not have to be disclosed to the regulator.

Our health and safety experts can work alongside our employment team to ensure that any employees who are not following company procedures in relation to working at height are disciplined appropriately. Taking appropriate action against employees will assist in any regulatory investigation that may occur due to employees’ poor working practices.

If an investigation should occur, we have extensive experience in acting for SMEs in relation to pre-charge investigations. Attendance at an interview under caution often provides the representative of the company with the best opportunity to highlight everything that the company has done well.

Our health and safety team uses its vast experience to make every effort to ensure that the HSE decides that undertaking a prosecution against the organisation is not in the public interest.

Who Should You Contact?

If you would like any advice in relation to safe working practices at height, please contact Emma Windle.


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