What does “work at height” mean?

Work at height is a term that encompasses various activities performed at a level above or below ground level where a person could be injured if they fell. This type of work is prevalent in many industries, including construction, maintenance, and certain types of manufacturing. Understanding what constitutes work at height, as well as the associated risks and safety measures, is crucial for ensuring the well-being of workers in these environments.

Defining Work at Height

Work at height is a broad category that includes any task carried out in a location where a fall could potentially cause personal injury. This includes, but is not limited to:

Working on Scaffolds

 Scaffold work is a common example of work at height. It involves constructing, inspecting, and using temporary platforms that allow workers to perform tasks at elevated levels.

Roof Work

Activities such as installing or repairing roofs, guttering, and other structures at a height above ground level fall under this category.

Working on Ladders

 Using ladders for tasks like painting, maintenance, or construction work is considered working at height.

Working on Elevated Platforms

This includes tasks performed on elevated work platforms, cherry pickers, or scissor lifts.

Tree Surgery

 Arborists who work in trees to perform tasks like pruning, trimming, or felling are considered to be working at height.

Tower Work

Jobs performed on telecommunication, broadcast, or wind energy towers fall into this category.

Construction and Demolition Work

 Almost all aspects of construction and demolition involve working at height, from the initial framework to the finishing touches.

Risks Associated with Work at Height

Working at height presents significant risks to workers. Falls from height are a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities worldwide. Some of the risks associated with working at height include:


The primary risk is falling from an elevated position, which can lead to severe injuries or fatalities.

Falling Objects

Tools, equipment, or debris dropped from a height can pose a threat to workers below.

Structural Failure

Scaffolding, platforms, or other elevated structures can fail if not properly constructed, maintained, or used.

Weather Conditions

Wind, rain, or adverse weather conditions can increase the risk of accidents.

Safety Measures for Work at Height

Strict safety measures and guidelines should be followed to mitigate the risks associated with working at height. 

Proper Training

 Workers should receive adequate training on working at height, including the safe use of equipment and fall protection measures.

Use of Fall Protection Equipment

This may include harnesses, lanyards, and anchor points designed to arrest falls.

Regular Inspections

 All equipment, including scaffolds, ladders, and safety harnesses, should be inspected regularly for defects or wear.

Guardrails and Toe Boards

These can help prevent falls from platforms, walkways, or edges.

Weather Monitoring

 Work at height should be postponed during adverse weather conditions.

Safe Access and Egress

Workers should have safe means to access and leave elevated work areas.

Emergency Procedures

 Protocols should be in place for rescue and first aid in the event of an accident.

Understanding what constitutes “work at height,” along with the associated risks and safety measures, is essential for ensuring the well-being of workers in industries where such activities are common. By implementing proper training, equipment, and safety protocols, employers can create a safer work environment and reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Prioritizing safety protects workers and contributes to a more productive and efficient work environment.

To help ensure that your workers are sufficiently trained to prevent falls, Clockwork Training’s Fall Protection Training program is a one-day, end-user program based on Part 11 of BC regulations & CSA Z259 & Z359 standards. Perfect for anyone at any skill level, we ensure that trainees learn system analysis, equipment inspections, how to fit in a harness and solve fall protection-based scenarios. Contact us or register to learn more about our fall protection program.