HSE Guidance

Safety bulletin outlining edge protection procedures when working at heights 




Safety Alert



Ref No 




HSE Guidance On Edge Protection



Distribution:      Work Place notice boards together with discussion at safety meeting



The HSE 's current advertising campaign is aimed at raising the profile of the hazards associated with working at heights and is also giving advanced warning of their intention to blitz construction sites with enforcement visits starting September. Your Manager has obtained an HSE information pack and may use some of its contents in a working at heights discussion at the next safety meeting. However, a recent minor accident has highlighted the need to raise one of the topics for discussion, working near open edges, as a safety alert.


Work occasionally involves working near open edges of buildings. Some examples are listed below:


• Working near the leading edge of a cold store roof during its construction,
• Working near the edge of a completed cold store where a person may fall down the cavity
• Working near the edge of a roof on a building, say during the changing of a condenser,
• Working on floors above ground floor of a building under construction where edge protection has not been provided. 

There is a significant risk of a fall if adequate controls are not put in place when working in the above situations. The HSE information pack highlights suitable controls, any of which would have prevented the accident.


• If working within 2m of open edges, full edge protection must be put in place comprising a top rail, toe board and intermediate protection.

• For short-duration work (a matter of minutes rather than hours) where it is not reasonably practicable to provide full edge protection anyone working nearer than 2m must wear a safety harness.

• Full edge protection may not be necessary if work on a roof or floor involves no-one going closer than 2m to an open edge. In such circumstances a demarcated area can be set up, outside which nobody goes during the work or access

Please highlight to your Manager situations where your work places you near an open edge so that a thorough risk assessment can be carried out and controls implemented before work continues.



Last modified: Wednesday, 28 November 2012, 11:47 AM