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Work at Height Regulations (WAHR)

Posted on: 19 June 2018

The Work at Height Regulations were introduced in a bid to prevent deaths and injuries caused by falls from height in the workplace and/or as a result of unsafe working practices. 

The regulations:

  • consolidate requirements for work at height into one place, making it easier for duty holders;
  • extend duties to activities not previously covered by specific regulations, such as work activities that take an employee to various places during the day e.g. roadside breakdown recovery and vehicle repairs; and
  • define what constitutes work at height.

Work at height means work in any place, including a place at or below ground level, where, if measures required by these regulations aren’t taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. It includes (but is not limited to):

  • any work at height using work equipment (MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms), scaffolds, guardrails, ladders, kick stools, etc.);
  • work on a structure that isn’t designed to act as a floor or platform, e.g. a roof, vehicle, machine, plant, fabrication, telegraph pole or tree; and 
  • working next to an excavation or where there is a similar sudden drop, such as a cellar opening.

Employers, facilities managers, building owners and anyone else that controls work at height, including the self-employed, can be held responsible should an accident occur. 

Duties are imposed on anyone who:

  • is carrying out work at height activities on their own site/premises;
  • has workers (including contractors) under their control; and 
  • is responsible for ensuring the safety of work equipment which may be sent to other sites/premises. 
Expand each of the following steps for guidance.