Working at height – protecting against falls

09 April 2019

Working at height can be dangerous and falls can often cause severe injuries. Our guidance helps to avoid falls and subsequent injuries.


As potential injuries resulting from falls from height can be very serious, it is very important that any work or access is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

Work carried out by employees and volunteers

The first step is to identify where work or access at height is required in your church. Some examples might include changing a light bulb, painting a wall or cleaning.

If you are an employer and the work will be carried out by a member of staff or a volunteer, suitable and sufficient measures should be in place to prevent accidents.

  • Complete a risk assessment before the work takes place.
  • Consider if it’s possible to complete the work from ground level.
  • Provide information and training on what needs to be done and how to remain safe - only competent people should be responsible for this type of work.
  • Make sure the correct equipment is used (for example, scaffolding, access towers, etc.) for the nature and duration of the work.
  • Try to minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall (for example, using a safety harness).
  • Carry out periodic checks and inspections to ensure that equipment is safe and precautions are being taken.
  • Document the arrangements and responsibilities for working at height, perhaps as part of your health and safety policy.
  • Keep records of all precautions, training and assessments as evidence.

Please remember - ladders are dangerous if not securely fixed in place and should only be used for low-risk works unless you are hiring a professional.

Our guidance notes go into more detail about how to prevent falls from height in Methodist churches.