18 Common Working at Height Hazards and Control Measures

18 Common Working at Height Hazards and Control Measures

There are inherent risks associated with working at heights, so safety must be given careful consideration. There is always a risk of mishap when performing tasks that need elevation, such as construction or maintenance. It is critical to identify and resolve these risks to protect employees’ health and safety. This article will examine ten typical working-at-height hazards and discuss practical countermeasures that can be used to reduce risks and create a safer workplace.

18 Common Working at Height Hazards and Control Measures

Drops from Elevations

  • Drops from Elevations

Hazard explanation: This happens when employees fall from high places, which can cause serious harm or even death.

Control measures include the installation of safety nets, guardrails, and personal fall arrest equipment. To ensure correct application, harness use training is essential.

  • Unsteady Surfaces

Reason for Hazard: There is a chance of slipping, tripping, and falling when working on uneven or slick surfaces.

Control Measures: Prepare the surface properly to provide a stable footing. It is recommended that workers wear non-slip footwear and that areas that are slippery be marked with warning signs or barriers.

  • Falling Items

Hazard explanation: Workers below may sustain injuries from falling objects or tools.

Control measures include establishing exclusion zones beneath work areas, using toe boards on scaffolding to prevent objects from falling, and securing tools with lanyards.

  • Insufficient Guardrails

 Hazard Description: The chance of falls on elevated platforms is increased when there are insufficient or no guardrails.

Control Measures: All elevated work platforms should have strong guardrails installed, and their integrity should be checked regularly.

  • Unsafe Ladders

Unsafe Ladders

 Reason for Hazard: When ladders are used improperly, falls and injuries may occur.

Control measures include using ladders with non-slip feet, ensuring stability by positioning ladders on level surfaces, and providing appropriate ladder training.

  • Cause of Structural Instability

Hazard Justification Catastrophic accidents can result from the collapse of weak or unstable structures.

Control measures include conducting structural assessments before starting work, regularly checking structures for indications of instability, and adhering to engineering guidelines for load capacities.

  • Electrical Hazards

 Definition: Electric shocks or electrocution may result from coming into contact with live electrical wires or equipment.

Control Strategies: isolate power sources, use insulated tools, and provide thorough training on electrical safety. 

  • Unfavorable Weather

 Hazard Description: Unfavourable weather can make work conditions more difficult and raise the possibility of accidents.

Control measures include keeping an eye on weather forecasts, stopping work in the event of severe weather, and making sure employees are properly outfitted for inclement weather.

  • Absence of Instruction

 Hazard Description The likelihood of accidents increases with inadequate knowledge of working at height safety.

Control Measures: Make sure employees are aware of safety procedures and offer thorough training on fall protection, equipment usage, and emergency protocols.

  • Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Risk explanation: When PPE is worn incorrectly or isn’t used at all, workers run several risks.

Control Strategies: Make sure that the proper PPE is available, such as safety glasses, helmets, and harnesses. Make sure the fit is correct, and through frequent inspections and training, enforce consistent use.

Encouraging a safer working environment at height requires an understanding of these particular hazards and the implementation of specialized control measures to mitigate them.

Additional Risks Associated with Working at Heights and Countermeasures

Additional Risks Associated with Working at Heights and Countermeasures

  • Restricted Areas

Hazard Explanation: Limited escape routes and inadequate ventilation are two potential hazards associated with working at heights in cramped areas.

Control Measures: Provide workers with confined space training, install adequate ventilation, and carry out comprehensive assessments before entry.

  • Equipment Breakdown

Hazard Description: Accidents can result from the malfunction or failure of equipment used for working at heights, such as lifts or scaffolding.

Control measures include following manufacturer instructions, doing routine maintenance and inspections, and offering instructions on how to use the equipment.

  • Fatigue and Overexertion

Hazard Explanation: Extended work at heights can cause fatigue, which affects coordination and judgment.

Control measures include creating work schedules with breaks, allocating enough time for rest, and promoting a positive work-life balance.

  • Communication Breakdown

Hazard Explanation: When working at a height, misunderstandings and errors can occur due to poor communication.

Control Measures: Create explicit communication guidelines, hold frequent safety meetings, and promote candid dialogue among team members.

  • Inadequate Emergency Response

 Hazard Explanation: Accident consequences may worsen if rescue plans or other emergency preparations are not in place.

Control Measures: Create and distribute emergency response plans, practice frequently, and make sure every employee is aware of how to evacuate the workplace.

  • Improper Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 Hazard Explanation: Employee safety may be jeopardized if PPE is used carelessly or not at all.

Control measures: Conduct frequent inspections, provide in-depth instruction on PPE use, and ensure that safety laws are followed.

  • Chemical Exposure

Hazard Explanation: There is a risk of exposure when working at heights in environments where hazardous chemicals are present.

Control Strategies: Recognize and evaluate chemical risks, offer suitable personal protective equipment, and put strategies in place to reduce chemical exposure.

  • Unpredictable Weather During Work

Hazard Explanation: Unexpected weather changes can raise the possibility of accidents.

Control measures include keeping a close eye on the weather while working, having backup plans in case things unexpectedly change, and making sure employees are aware of emergency procedures.

Organizations can develop a thorough strategy for working at height safety by recognizing and addressing these additional risks. This reduces risks and fosters a proactive safety awareness culture among management and employees alike.


Our dedication to workplace safety must change along with the industries, especially when it comes to working at heights. Through thorough training, appropriate tools, and frequent risk assessments, we can identify and mitigate these common hazards, enabling workers to perform their jobs with assurance and security. Safety first is a moral requirement that guarantees everyone goes home safely at the end of the day, not just a legal requirement.


  1. Fall from height in the construction industry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962179/ 
  2. Strategies to reduce safety violations from work from height in construction companies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962179/