Do you really have to work at height?

We talk a lot on this blog about the need to ensure you have sufficient safety procedures in place to ensure that working at height is as risk-free as possible. When risks are there, and sometimes they’re unavoidable, there are ways you can mitigate those risks. For example, if you can’t have fall prevention in place, you can use fall arrest to make sure the fall is not dangerous, or at least as safe as possible.

As part of the assessment when working at height, one of the most important questions to ask, though, is “can this job be done without working at height at all?”

Every job has to be assessed separately, but you should consider the costs of performing the task at hand without having to work at height. For example, it may be that the item you have to service can be lowered. If that’s the case, what are the costs of doing it? What delays would it cause? Is it an inconvenience in other ways?

If it doesn’t cause major downtime, doesn’t incur huge costs, and there are no huge knock-on effects, it may be deemed cost effective to work on it at ground level. However, if those costs are high, then you need to consider other factors.

For example, is working at height difficult or fraught with danger? Or is it simple?

A proper risk assessment will give you the answer you need, but remember that the cost of injury, or even death, is very high indeed, and not to be taken lightly.