Working at heights

Many serious and fatal accidents happen each year in NZ to employees as a result of falls while working at height. The University undertakes a variety of work where this risk is potentially significant.

Such work is not confined to maintenance personnel working near the edge of buildings, but includes staff in offices using step ladders or other areas that operate in environments working at heights. It also covers a variety of equipment that is used to access work areas at height.

To prevent falls and resulting serious harm it is important that comprehensive risk assessments are conducted to determine the safest way to carry out an activity that involves operating at height and a potential risk of a fall.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act, 1992 (HSE) regulations specify that appropriate fall prevention controls need to be in place for height level above 3 or more metres.

However it is important to note that many accidents related to falls occur at heights below 3 metres and result is serious injury or death. The HSE Act still requires employers to determine a fall hazard of a lower height and ensure appropriate controls are in place.

Useful resources

External safety publications