What are my OHS duties to employees who work at heights?

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 30 Apr. 2014

Tags: employees who work at heights, occupational health and safety act, ohsa, employer duties to employees who work at heights, health and safety, working at heights

If your employees work at heights (in other words they use ladders or scaffolding), you must ensure they work safely. If you don’t, they’ll get hurt and you’ll have to stop production for days while investigations take place. This means you’ll lose time and money. Don’t take that risk. Read on to discover your duties to employees who work at heights so you can comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and avoid injuries in your workplace.


Do you want to be fined, jailed or have a criminal record for life?

If an accident occurs in your workplace, and the person dies, you could be charged with culpable homicide, charged penalties of R100 000 or 2 years in jail! The CEO or Owner of a company is personally accountable for health and safety at work.

Click here for the three things you must prove to establish your innocence.


You have eight duties towards employees who work at heights

If your employees work at heights of 1.5m or higher, make sure the equipment they use is safe for them and the work they do.

In addition, you also need to do the following:
  1. Train all employees who work with ladders and scaffolding in the safety precautions they must take;
  2. Do a risk assessment for the work that involves using ladders and scaffolding;
  3. Give employees the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they’ll need when they work with ladders and scaffolding. For example, hard hats, safety boots and safety gloves;
  4. Take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of falling or slipping. For example, make sure they wear the correct shoes;
  5. Keep ladders and scaffolding equipment in good, working condition with monthly inspections;
  6. Make sure these monthly inspections are done by people who’ve been properly trained to inspect this type of equipment;
  7. Train your employees on how to inspect ladders and scaffolding (or other height equipment like harnesses and ropes) before and after they use them; and
  8. Dispose of any height equipment older than five years.

Warning! You’ll face the following penalties if you fail to comply with your duties.


HSE E-report Embeds

Do you have more than 20 employees?

Don’t ignore this health and safety obligation or else!

The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don’t have a health and safety representative.

Here’s how to avoid it…


Failure protect employees who work at heights will result in the following penalties

The Health & Safety Advisor says if you don’t take steps to keep your employees safe when they work at heights (with ladders and scaffolding) the DOL could fine you R50 000 or imprison you for a year in jail or even both.

Don’t take that risk. Stick to the duties we’ve outlined to protect employees who work at heights. This’ll also ensure you’re in line with the OHSA.

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