Cellar safety and falls from height

Watch your step

Accidents involving cellars and stairs are all too common. They have caused serious injuries, and on occasion, some accidents have been fatal. In most cases these falls can be prevented.

You must think about risks to employees and visitors if your premises has

  • a hatch in the floor or outside
  • a basement or cellar
  • a goods hoist
  • a gate
  • fences or railings
  • stairs

Download our cellar and stair safety leaflet below for more information and a useful checklist.

Specifics to consider

  1. Any barrier, railing or gate within, or surrounding, your premises must be of an adequate strength and height.
  2. Gates, hatches and other openings should be able to be securely closed, including a lock. Any lock must be properly used at all times.
  3. When a gate or hatch is in open position (e.g. during deliveries) there must be a fixed barrier (i.e. not just a rope or chain) to make sure employees or visitors can't fall.
  4. Your staff must be trained and supervised to make sure these rules are followed.
  5. You must ensure deliveries / collections are carried out as safely as possible. More information on safe procedures for deliveries and collections is available on the Health and Safety Executive's website.

Risk Assessment

You are legally required to carry out a risk assessment of the risks of features, such as hatches and stairs in your premises. If you have 5 or more employees you must record your findings. You must also make any improvements to reduce the risk to as safe a level as possible. Your risk assessments should be reviewed from time to time. Find information on completing a risk assessment on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

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