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The Three Lines of Defence for Safe Working at Height


For any work at height project you will be required to put together a fall protection program. This plan must be available at the work site where there is a potential for a fall before the work begins.

When putting together a fall protection plan it is important to initially scope out any potential hazards. This can be done by following the “three lines of defence” method. The first line is to eliminate the potential of a fall. The second is to follow administrative controls, such as training or written programs and policies. The last line is to ensure sound Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The First Line of Defence

For projects which require working at height, the first line of defence should always be to completely eliminate any potential fall hazard. In some circumstances it is possible to move the work to ground level, which is the ideal solution for completely removing any potential falls from working at height.

Whilst this is clearly the optimal result, there are projects where working from ground level is simply not possible, e.g. where the work is taking place at a substantial height from the ground.

In these circumstances you will be required to take additional measures to protect workers from falling. This is done through guarding the worker from the potential hazard, perhaps through the addition of platforms, railings or other protection systems.

Line Two & Three of Defence

Once you have determined that work must be conducted from above ground level you will need to follow lines two and three of defence. Line Two involves implementing extra guards and protection to stop workers from falling. A parapet or guardrail can be installed to stop workers coming to close to the edge of the building. Another way to protect workers is through the addition of Latchway systems to your premises. Latchways Plc create cable based fall arrest systems to provide continuous protection to individuals working at height. The systems can be fixed temporarily or permanently and can provide fall restraint, fall arrest and rescue.

Besides installing the correct measures to protect workers from fall, it is also imperative that any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is correctly inspected prior to use. PPE includes any protective clothing or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury. Inspection involves checking the equipment for damage for example, from frays or broken strands. It also involves checking that equipment is cleaned and stored correctly.

Certified Latchway Fall Protection Systems

Inspection & Rope Access Specialists are certified installers of Latchway fall protection systems and one of the companies able to provide  If you require assistance with working at height, the installation of fall protection systems or PPE Inspections please contact our team today on 01592 722 571.