Working at height means working in a place where you could get injured by falling from a height. This applies where your workplace is at, above or below, ground level. It does not include a staircase in a permanent workplace.
Activities covered by working at height include:
- using a kick stool or stepladder to access overhead shelving
- hanging curtains in bays
- changing lamps or ceiling tiles
- using trestles and ladders to paint or clean
- order picking using a fork-lift truck with an integrated platform
- working on a ladder or scaffold
Your manager must carry out a risk assessment for working at height and put in place control measures for risks identified.
Working at height fact sheet (PDF, 364KB, 2 pages)
Kick stools are designed not to move when you apply weight to them.
Before using a kick stool you must:
- ensure the wheels are running freely
- ensure there is no debris on the wheels or steps
- check that it locks into position when you put weight on it
- check the rubber on the bottom of the stool is not damaged and is stuck down securely
- wear appropriate footwear to ensure your stability when using a kick stool
- avoid wearing clothes that you could catch your heel on when using the kick stool
Using a stepladder
|Do It is important to visually check the stepladder for any signs of damage before use. If there are any obvious issues, report them to your manager immediately.||Don't Don’t use a stepladder in an area where you could be knocked over. For example, behind a doorway or on a busy corridor.|
|Do Ensure surrounding areas are free from clutter with clear access to the stepladder.||Don't Don’t twist your body to one side or stretch away from the ladder.|
|Do The stepladder must rest firmly on the floor without the risk of it slipping or moving during the task.||Don't Don’t over-reach while on a stepladder. This will make your position on the stepladder unstable.|
|Do Always maintain at least 3 points of contact with the ladder (2 feet and a hand or 2 feet and your body).|
|Do Always face forwards while using the stepladder. Adjust the positioning of the ladder as needed.|
|Do Make sure your waist and hips stay within the vertical uprights and keep both feet on the steps.|
|Do Contact your occupational health service with any concerns about your medical fitness to do a task.|
Visual check on stepladders
Before using a stepladder do a visual check on:
- Safety handrail - ensure it is secure and free from damage.
- Hinge - check that the hinge fully engages and is free from damage.
- Step lock - the step lock must be clean and free from damage so that it fully engages and locks into place.
- Feet rubber - rubber feet must be present and free from any damage that may cause the feet to slip when in use.
- Uprights - ensure it is free of damage.
- Steps (rungs) - ensure there is no damage and that the rungs are secure. The rubber mats must be firmly in place and secure.
- Stays - some stepladders have stays that are attached to the front and back uprights. Ensure they are locked fully into position before use.
- Labels - review the label for manufacturers’ notes about use and inspections.
Use of kick stools and step ladders at low levels prompt sheet (Word, 30KB, 2 pages)
Contact HSE Health and Safety helpdesk
Use the Health and Safety self-service portal or
Phone: 1800 420 420
Monday to Friday 10.30am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 3.30pm