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15. Why and how working at heights can go wrong

Health and safety whilst working at heights is our number one focus at Oxford Safety which is why we provide solutions and tools to keep you safe. But what are the common reasons that can cause a job at heights to go horribly wrong? Let’s take a look at the why and how working at heights can go wrong…

Taking short cuts

This is the biggest cause of how working at heights can go horribly wrong. If you are rushing around and trying to make short cuts you will come up against obstacles and problems along the way.

“Short cuts make long delays”.

So, that perceived short cut could cost you more than you bargained for! Take your time and do the job properly to keep safe whilst working at height.

No safety checks

Along with taking short cuts another big reason why working at heights can go wrong is if you skip the safety checks.

Safety checks exist for a reason - primarily to keep you and everyone around the site safe on duty. Just because you have experience or have used certain tools, equipment or carried out the process many times before does not make you immune to faults.

Always carry out a safety check before you perform any duty at height.

Lack of planning

Again, without any forward planning a job at heights can be prone to errors or misfortunes. Make sure you assess the work area thoroughly and consider any potential hazards in play. Consider the time of day you will be carrying out the work for instance. Do you need extra lighting or protection? Do you need to warn passers by? Have you got the appropriate licenses in place?

Don’t forget, if you are working outdoors then to keep an eye on the weather forecast as this could have a big impact on your safety working at heights.

Inappropriate equipment

When you look at examples of falls from heights the common image is a person falling from atop a ladder. When it’s often the case that a ladder falls short the requirement of the equipment needed to stay safe on the job.

Assess the job at hand and consider what equipment you might need in place to fulfill the task.

As well as tools, equipment also covers clothing and workwear. Are your employees fully protected to work at heights with what they are wearing? Think about everything - from head to toe!

No training provided

Once you have the right equipment then don’t expect your workers to figure out the proper use by themselves. Incompetent or incapable employees can be fatal when working at heights but it’s your responsibility as an employer to give them the appropriate instructions.

So, make sure you provide proper training sessions for everyone involved.

If you are considering your options for equipment and training sessions for your next job working at heights then please browse the solutions provided by Oxford Safety. Call us for details.

methodsUse our Method Statement documents to create a safe statement for your work project. Click photo for a document


Oxford Safety arrange training for every delivery of our equipment on site, and at base. Click photo for more …