Access keys | Skip to primary navigation | Skip to secondary navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer |
Problems viewing this site
Link to Queensland Government (
Home | Site map | Contact us | for
Department of Education
Creating Healthier Workplaces > Health and Safety > Hazards and Risks >

Working at Heights

Strong regulatory requirements apply to all fall hazards from one level to another, regardless of the distance from the ground. This includes the use of low level platforms and ladders.

Falling objects can also cause serious injuries. Ensure that objects do not fall onto people who may be under or next to a work area.

Note: It is prohibited for departmental staff, students and volunteers to be and/or work on roofs at Education Queensland facilities. This includes all roofs on buildings, structures and covered walkways (e.g. single and multistorey constructions, breezeway roofs, awnings, shed roofs, detached or demountable building roofs and sun shade structures etc.).

Departmental procedures and guidelines

The Working at heights guideline Adobe PDF document1.0M describes the processes required to safely manage work at heights. Workplaces must identify tasks that place staff, students or others at risk of a fall from heights and:

Departmental employees must document their risk management practices in the following ways for all activities which have the potential for falls from height:

Work at heights task

Required actions

Any activity that involves being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility.

Stop. Do not proceed. Being on, or working on any roof at any state school facility is prohibited for all school staff, students and visitors.

Activities where you already know the risks and know how to control them.

Review and adhere to the risk assessment / Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) / Safe Operating Procedure (SOP).

The task involves a fall hazard of less than 2 metres and is a new activity or a significant change to an existing activity.

Complete and adhere to a risk assessment Microsoft® Word document363K.
Apply the hierarchy of control starting at level one (elimination).
If ladders are used, you must state why you are not using a higher level control.

Tasks that involve fall hazards of 2 metres or more above the ground (measured from the feet)
Tasks that involve fall hazards of 1.5 metres below ground level (measured from the feet).

Warning. Complete a SWMS Microsoft® Word document457K.

Develop and adhere to any SOPs relevant to the safe completion of the task (e.g. for plant and equipment, pre-start procedures).


To prevent falls from ladders they may only be used when it is not reasonably practicable to select other options (e.g. an elevating work platform or scaffolding) which may be safer or more efficient, or more suited to the task.

The use of ladders is to be subject to risk assessment, safe work procedures and training.

Ladders should only be used as a work platform for light work of short duration after key hazards such as work position, over reach and setup have been considered.

All ladders used in departmental workplaces must have a load rating of at least 120 kg and be manufactured for industrial use.


Information to assist you to identify, review and manage fall hazards:

Safe work at heights presentation

Working at heights inspection tool Microsoft® Word document478K


Use this templates to assess and control the risks associated with fall hazards:

Working at heights risk assessment template Microsoft® Word document363K

Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) template Microsoft® Word document457K

Safe operating procedures

SOPs provide detailed information on how to address issues related to the safe use of equipment. A range of generic SOPs are provided below. Ensure you modify the content to reflect any local circumstances related to your task and equipment before you implement them.

Ladder safety - SOP Adobe PDF document282K

Elevating work platform SOP Microsoft® Word document109K

Extension ladder SOP Adobe PDF document134K

Platform ladder SOP Adobe PDF document185K

Scaffolding SOP Adobe PDF document215K

Single side ladder SOP Adobe PDF document199K

Step ladder SOP Adobe PDF document253K

Related links

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Regulation) - Part 4.4 Falls

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website:

^ Top of page

This page was last reviewed on 19 Jun 2014

Safety Alerts
Annual Assessment
A-Z Topics Index
Health and Safety Contacts

Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy | Right to information | Access keys | Other languagesOther languages

© The State of Queensland 2018.

Queensland Government