Although there's no specific height that's legally regarded as elevated, to reduce the health and safety risks of your employees 'regard anything at the two metre mark or higher as an elevated height,' says the Health and Safety Advisor.
In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) you're not allowed to ask or allow an employee to work in an elevated position unless it's done safely from a ladder or scaffolding. Painters, construction workers, window cleaners, crane operators, electricians, technicians, firemen and emergency workers generally require ladders and scaffolding for elevated work:
As an employer, it's your duty to ensure any work done at two metres or more is done with minimal risk of injury.
Five steps to minimise health and safety risks for employees working at elevated heights
The Health and Safety Advisor suggests you take these measures for your employees working at height
Step #1: Plan and organise elevated work properly. Ensure your employees only work at height if the task requires it. This work must be planned, supervised and performed according to safe work procedures. Ensure you have an appropriate emergency and rescue plan in place.
Step #2: Consider the weather. Take weather conditions into account and postpone work if there's a health and safety risk.
Step #3: Ensure a safe working area. This includes safe access to the work area and fall prevention measures. You must always consider the requirement of the task, the equipment and the surrounding environment.
Step #4: Carry out inspections. Ensure inspections are carried out by a competent person and are sufficient enough to reduce the health and safety risks.
Step #5: Provide safety equipment and safety features. Always provide equipment to prevent any falls. If there's a risk of a fall in spite of precautions, do all that's reasonably possible to reduce the effect of the fall. Employees can do this by wearing the correct type of PPE, like safety harnesses. Also ensure that all equipment and safety features (like ladders, scaffolding and fall arrest equipment) comply with the safety regulations and national standards.
Remember, any elevated work is classified as a high-risk occupation. But using these steps can help reduce the health and safety risks of employees working at elevated heights.