Work at height

Falls from height have always been one of the largest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace.

Work at height means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.

You are working at height if you:

  • work above ground or 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.

It is strongly advisable to carry out an assessment of areas where there is a risk of falling from a height and take steps to remove or minimise the risks.

You need to consider:

  • Can you avoid any work at height?
  • If not, can you do something to prevent a fall occurring?
  • If not, can you do something to reduce the consequences of a fall?

Church properties often have high ceilings and are tall. A simple task of changing a light bulb in a building with high ceilings may require specialist equipment and planning. It is strongly advised that any work at height is carefully planned and you should consider whether expert contractors can undertake the work more safely than employees or volunteers.

Helpful guidance for risk assessing working from height can be found in the HSE working from height guide.

The HSE also has guides to help you assess the risk of common tasks at height. Please see the links to the left of this page for more information.

You may be able to think of more occasions within your place of worship where working at height may occur but the same principles of avoid, prevent and reduce will apply.

You will also need to consider The Work at Height Regulations for any such work being undertaken. If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example building owners who may contract others to work at height) the Regulations apply to you.

Please see the useful website links below.