Warren Access

The role of the HSE in work at height

February 15, 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the Government agency responsible for regulating health and safety at work, and in terms of work at height, enforcing the Work at Height Regulations 2005. You can find out more about them here or read on to find out more.

What is the HSE’s role in work at height?

The HSE have various roles in managing work at height which we summarise below.


The HSE provides information, advice, and guidance to help everyone working at height understand what they need to do to comply with the law and keep safe while at work. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 a brief guide is an excellent example of documents they produce, but you’ll find plenty more information on their website, including industry-specific advice.


The HSE work closely with trade organisations, professional bodies, unions, businesses, stakeholders, and anyone else involved in work at height to ensure everyone keeps a strong focus on safety. It conducts consultations and prepares proposals for regulations and codes of practices.

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Presents the statistics

Did you know that 147 fatal accidents occurred in 2018/2019 and 40 of those were because of falls from height? The HSE collate and report health and safety statistics for Great Britain, looking at all elements from fatal accidents to non-fatal injuries, ill health, and the costs they have on businesses and the country as a whole.

Enforces the law

If accidents occur or if they are made aware of breaches, the HSE carry out inspections and investigations and enforce the law as necessary, by serving or editing notices, withdrawing approvals, issuing cautions, or prosecuting. They’ll highlight what you need to do to comply with the law and by when and will follow up to confirm compliance. They also publish data on prosecutions and their outcomes – see the work at height breaches for the last 12 months on the HSE website.

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