Horizon Platforms Blog

IPAF Training – Duty Calls: Your Responsibilities for Work at Height

Speak to the Experts

By Damian Edge, IPAF Instructor

Using a MEWP can put you at risk, there’s no doubt about it. Though, under the correct conditions elevated platforms are a safe and reliable method for providing temporary height during indoor and outdoor work. You have a duty – as an employer and operative – to ensure your working environment meets legal regulations for safeguarding life-saving practice. So, with expert IPAF training and a sound knowledge of your responsibilities for work at height you can stay safe on site.

Risk of life is enough to adhere to work at height regulations, but it could also cost you dearly. The CITB warns that you could face up to £10 million of fines or two years of jail time for serious breaches.

If you’ve decided that there’s no reasonable nor practical way to avoid work at height, then our IPAF training teaches that you can prevent falls and minimise risk by following MEWP regulations.

Here’s a brief breakdown of three laws that keep your safe – and how they affect your responsibilities for work at height:


Health & Safety at Work Act (HASWA) 1974

As an employer, this act is particularly important. It states that, as far as you can – and is reasonably practical –  you must safeguard health, safety, and welfare in the workplace. Remember, this applies to employees, visitors and even trespassers.

Your main responsibilities are to provide

  • safe tools, plant, and equipment
  • a safe workplace and environment
  • information, instruction, training and supervision
  • suitable PPE – free of charge

and to avoid, reduce, and control any risks using a risk assessment.

As an employee, you share a duty of care for your own safety as well as those who could be affected by your actions. Whether that means cooperating with your employer in meeting legal regulations for work at height or not interfering with or misusing equipment provided for your safety.

Read the full text of the Act here.


Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998

First and foremost, PUWER states that operators, supervisors, and managers must be trained in ordered to work with MEWPs. An expert IPAF training course is a good choice, with training facilities within easy reach.

In terms of the equipment you’re using, you have important responsibilities for work at height. Before using a MEWP you must ensure that:

  • work equipment suits the purpose
  • your machine is in good working order, maintained, and repaired
  • you are authorised to use all the equipment
  • health and safety measures are in place, such as emergency stop devices, isolation from sources of energy, and visible warning displays
  • regular inspections make sure that your machine is safe to operate

Read the full text of the Regulation here.


Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that every use of a MEWP is properly planned by a competent person, supervised, and carried out safely.

LOLER also requires you to ensure thorough testing and examinations of machines are undertaken every six months – regardless of age or frequency of use. For help with this, you can opt for a maintenance cover package to make sure all requirements are met.

If you’re renting a platform, always check that your supplier has included a thorough examination document as proof that the MEWP is in safe working order.

As an operator, you must know these key features of a MEWP:

  • Safe Working Load
  • Maximum number of people it can carry
  • Maximum safe operating wind speed
  • If a thorough LOLER examination has taken place.

Read the full text of the Regulation here.


Understanding your responsibilities for work at height is vital to keep you – and everyone around you – safe. Shirking your duties endangers life unnecessarily, so make sure that you get the best IPAF training to get you up to speed on the latest industry advice.

Need further training? Book onto our IPAF training courses, available 6 days a week.