How To Mitigate The Dangers of Working From Heights

A construction job exposes workers to a wide range of hazards. In particular, falling from heights is a growing occurrence and has been reported to account for one in five serious injuries on the construction site.

In an industry as dangerous as this, the preservation of the life and health of your staff should be of the utmost priority. Therefore, a clear understanding in regards to the relevant safety procedures is crucial.

The section below shows how employers can take simple, practical measures to reduce the risk of any of their workers falling while working at a height during a construction job.

What do I need to do?

Above all, you must make sure the work is properly planned and supervised, with the correct labor placement. Your staff must have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the construction job correctly and safely.

(Read more: How Matrix Labor Leasing can help with your Calgary staffing needs)

Take Adequate Control Measures

Before beginning any construction work from a height, you must first assess all the risks. This includes the exact height of the construction job, the duration and frequency of the job and the condition of the surface being worked on.

Always consider the following steps:

  • Avoid working from a height where it is reasonably practical to do so
  • Where working from a height cannot be avoided, you must ensure to always use the right type of equipment for that construction job
  • Minimise the distance and consequences of that fall by taking all the safety precautions necessary including proper equipment and safety gear

Do’s & Don’ts of Working From Heights


  • As much work as possible from the ground
  • Ensure the safety of your workers as they move to and from their positions
  • Ensure that your equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the construction job
  • Check and maintain your equipment periodically
  • Take appropriate precautions when working on or around a fragile surface
  • Provide protection from falling objects
  • Plan out emergency evacuation and rescue procedures


  • Overload or overreach on ladders/stepladders
  • Rest a ladder against a weak upper surface (e.g. on glazing or plastic gutters)
  • Use ladders or stepladders for heavy, strenuous tasks. They are meant for light work of short duration (up to 30 minutes at a time.)
  • Let anyone who is unqualified work a construction job from a height

The High Cost of  Fall Hazards To Your Business

In addition to their social costs, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on an employer’s bottom line. These can include both direct costs (workers compensation payments, medical expenses and cost for legal services) and indirect costs (training new staff, accident investigation, implementation of corrective measures and costs associated with lower employee morale).

That is why it is so important to develop safety procedures for each construction job that requires working from a height greater than three meters. Employees must understand and review these procedures before starting the task.

Want to Learn More?

Matrix provides leading staffing solutions and safety training in Calgary. If you want to learn more about safety on the construction site, contact us at 1-866-666-9520.

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