How to complete a heights risk assessment

A risk assessment will help you determine:

  1. what could happen if a fall did occur and how likely it is to happen
  2. how severe a risk is
  3. whether any existing control measures are effective
  4. what action you should take to control the risk
  5. how urgently the action needs to be taken.

A risk assessment is unnecessary if you already know the risk and how to control it.

When assessing the risks arising from each fall hazard, the following matters should be considered:

  1. the design and layout of elevated work areas, including the distance of a potential fall
  2. the number and movement of all people at the workplace
  3. the proximity of workers to unsafe areas where loads are placed on elevated working areas (for example, loading docks) and where work is to be carried out above people and there is a risk of falling objects
  4. the adequacy of inspection and maintenance of plant and equipment (for example, scaffolding)
  5. the adequacy of lighting for clear vision
  6. weather conditions—the presence of rain, wind, extreme heat or cold can cause slippery or unstable conditions
  7. the suitability of footwear and clothing for the conditions
  8. the suitability and condition of ladders, including where and how they are being used
  9. the adequacy of current knowledge and training to perform the task safely (for example, young, new or inexperienced workers may be unfamiliar with a task)
  10. the adequacy of procedures for all potential emergency situations.


If you are responsible for a number of different work areas or workplaces and the fall hazards are the same, you may perform a single (or generic) risk assessment. However, you should carry out a risk assessment on individual fall hazards if there is any likelihood that a person may be exposed to greater, additional or different risks.

Please use the Code of Practice to assist with this process  Managing-the-risk-of-falls-at-workplaces-COP