Tips for Working at Heights: Prevent Accidents & Deaths at Work

Working at heights involves climbing things and operating above the ground; which increases the probability of falling and getting injuries.

Examples of such locations include roof edges, on ladders, dock loading, floor openings, and more.

Carelessness and small mistakes are the primary causes of deaths and injuries for most people who work at height, and a bone of contention for OSHA and other safety agencies worldwide.

In 2015, almost 40% of mortalities in the construction sector were due to falls, and most of them were avoidable. Studies also indicate that most people usually hurt themselves or die of falls from raised places.

Still, it is possible to prevent such injuries in workplaces by imparting stringent safety tips for working at heights?

As an employer, it’s crucial to provide your employees with relevant training and resources to prevent any harm related to heights.

This article will expound on the different ways to ensure safety when working in higher places.

8 Safety Tips For Working at Heights

Height-related accidents affect the workers as well as the organization. Some of the effects to the organization include extra costs, reduced productivity, a tainted reputation, and reduced worker morale.

Practicing height safety tips can help reduce workplace injuries and mishaps while using ladders. They can also help you evade injuries and falls from elevated locations. Below are 8 tips for working at heights.

Plan Well

Proper planning is critical in executing any activity, and working at heights is no exception.

Start by analyzing any possible risks associated with the work and develop strategies to prevent them. Some of the points to consider include; the time needed to complete a task, fall distance or height, and the state of the working surface.

If the task can be accomplished through other means that don’t involve climbing, it’d be best to reconsider the idea of employing human labor. If this isn’t the case, consider using highly skilled and experienced personnel and do constant supervision.

Seek to assign tasks involving heights on places that are already deemed safe. If not sure of a location’s height safety, it’s advisable to critically examine its state to confirm safety levels. Cover any holes on the ground are covered, and get rid of any trip hazard.

It also best to have a backup, rescue, or emergency evacuation plan in case an accident occurs.

Make use of railing

Railing is a convenient way to offer workers passive protection. This form of protection reminds employees the points they shouldn’t cross in a work site.

Railing systems come in various rooftop styles, for examples, railing for metal roofs, non-penetrating rails, among others.

Work out the fall distance

Calculating fall distance is one of the important tips for working at heights.

Miscalculating fall distance is a common mistake when operating at raised locations. While it doesn’t seem like much, making such a mistake may mean taking less effective safety measures which can be life-threatening.

Employers should understand that height safety tools are pointless if they miscalculate fall distance, and insist of the use of proper measuring equipment and personnel for a reliable analysis.

The worker’s height is also crucial when taking fall distance measurements. Before selecting a height safety PPE, be sure to work out the least fall clearance distance.

Use proper and inspected PPE

Pricking the right PPE and conducting frequent inspection are priority tips for working at heights.

Select appropriate fall arrest options depending on the risk type and extent. A full-body harness built per ANSI standards can protect you adequately but these can be pricier.

Examples of these harnesses include, D-rings and fireproof materials. Some harnesses are usually overpriced because of the comfort they offer compared to others. It’s best to select the ones that suit your tasks.

For example, Keylar harnesses are great protectors than nylons when welding at heights. When selecting PPEs, always pick the right sizes. Go for PPE that works effectively, is adjustable, and comfortable.

Other important fall arrest equipment like lanyards require appropriate selection depending on the working height. For instance, instead of picking lanyards with deceleration devices, go for those that can retract.

After selecting an operation PPE, you need to inspect its functioning before using it. Some tools like harnesses need frequent checkups to ensure they’re still sturdy and in good shape.

Remind your workers to always check their PPE before use. By so doing, they can pinpoint early any weak or damaged areas that could cause accidents or falling.

During such inspections, staff should understand what to check and measure to detect any problem. Pre-use checks usually take a shorter time but it’s important to be thorough.

Using a suitable and reliable anchor point

Anchoring is one of the most important tips for working at height. An anchor point is a place where you attach a safety harnesses to support yourself.

Such points should be extremely solid and designed by proficient engineers. The engineer should calculate the loads to be supported by the anchor to determine if it’s suitable or not.

Another option is to ensure that the anchor point can support a load of at least 5,000 pounds. Most fixtures usually don’t exceed this weight. Nonetheless, developing a sturdy anchor with a professional’s help is the best way to go

Use ladders and lifts properly

Improper use of lifts can cause problems when working at elevated places. For example, failing to confirm that you’re properly tethered can cause injury. Tethering yourself involves attaching your harnesses appropriately on an anchor point and ensuring they won’t wrap around rails.

Individuals using scissor lifts should always ensure secure their chains and fix their feet firmly on the support surface to avoid falling. Failure to do so you can cause sudden falls.

It is wrong to assume that your ladder is always a safe for work. It’s best to analyze its sturdiness and safety before embarking on the task.

Employers should provide their employees with adequate training on ladder use before assigning them to work at heights. When using ladders, be sure to place them 3ft from the climbing level, have a rise and run ratio of 4:1, and have at least three contact points every time you use it.

For example, supporting yourself using both legs and one hand, or both hands and one leg. This also means you shouldn’t carry things like buckets while on a ladder. Instead, use belts or pockets to hold some of the must-have tools.

Step-ladders can also pause threat to users and must never be overlooked. Fixed ladders whose heights exceed 24’ should be used together with safety systems like lanyards or harnesses.

Besides the safety measures for ladder climbing, you should also improve the ladder top by enhancing its protection level.

Know the exact fall protection equipment and when to apply it

All tips for working at heights require keen considerations and analysis. OSHA demands that you understand three primary factors to make an informed decision on PPE choice, and they include the work location, time it should take, and work frequency.

If the work doesn’t usually take place more than once monthly, it’s said to be infrequent. Work that don’t take more than two hours are temporary works. You should select the most effective equipment depending on the risk proximity and fall distance.

Train Employees

The best way to guarantee workers safety when working on elevated locations is through proper training. Falling from high claims many lives people in construction sites and other industries.

You should prepare your workers maximally through frequent and high-quality training on working at heights. Inform them about risks they might encounter when working and efficient approaches they should take when they face them.

Conduct a refresher training program after several months, when you introduce new fall arrest tools, or hire a new workforce. It helps to remind your employees about the importance of ensuring safety at all times by implementing their training knowledge during work.

When everyone prioritize safety in a working environment, it’s easier to reduce height-related harms.


The best way to guarantee workers safety when working on elevated locations is through proper training. Falling from high places claims many lives in construction sites and other industries.

Safety is crucial anytime someone works on elevated areas. With proper tips for working at heights and effective resources, alienating height-related risks will be hassle-free. The above tips can help you to enhance the safety of your workers and other people.

Remember to effectively analyze the fall distance and use most-effective PPE and well- functioning PPEs at all times. Lastly, conduct a refresher training program after several months, when you introduce new fall arrest tools, or hire a new workforce.

This will help update your team on the latest safety measures.