Working at Height ...


Welcome to the 'Working at Height' training package.

Any working at height is covered by The Work at Height Regulations 2005 laid down by government, the purpose of which is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. Within the SVR Safety Management System (SMS) is a policy document that outlines the SVR approach to working at height, the responsibilities of all staff, and guidance on the equipment that may be used. That policy is available using the following link: SMS-POL-112 Working at Height

You will find below a video, a follow-up questionnaire, and the script of the video (for reference).

Please take a few minutes to watch the video, and then scroll down to complete the questionnaire. All questions must be answered. When you are finished, simply click the 'Submit' button.

The questionnaire will ask you for your member 'UIN' number, so it's a good idea to have this to hand. If you are struggling to find this, it can be found on your car park pass - to the right of the Department name.

Working at Height Script


What is Working at Height?

Working at height means any place where you could fall and cause personal injury, for example; falling off a ladder or locomotive running board, falling through a rotten step board when climbing in to a carriage or falling in to an opening, such as an inspection pit or a hole dug for any purpose.

There are plenty of misconceptions about working at height:

  • Step ladders are banned.  They are not and may be most suitable for some tasks.

  • You need to be qualified to use a ladder, you don’t but you should be able to use one competently.

  • You are not working at height if using a staircase.

So, what should I do?

  • Avoid working at height if possible.

  • If working at height, assess the location and equipment being used to try to prevent falls

  • Minimise the fall distance by using support or equipment

  • Don’t overreach

  • Make sure you are not working from a fragile, slippery, uneven or unstable surface

  • Make sure you don’t drop or knock objects off from height


So how does this apply to my operational duties at the SVR?


There are some general points and there are some specifics

The general points are:

  • If watering a loco make sure that the person on the ground hands you the bag as close as possible to your position to prevent over reaching.

  • Remain in a position of height for the minimum time possible.  Do not hold a conversation from an open door looking over trackside and close such doors at the earliest opportunity.

  • Make sure the position you are climbing up from if trackside is safe, for example Signalling rodding, cables, or watering hose supports are not impeding you.

  • A locomotive has many hot surfaces, training is provided to loco crew to make sure that you are aware where these

  • What is the weather like – is it raining, is the surface I am standing on going to be slippery.

  • Check that the surface that supports me is safe

  • Stop objects falling from height

  • In the event that I need to return to a more permanent secure surface quickly can I do this in an emergency

  • Avoid distractions and ensure that the period of time spent working at height is kept to a minimum

  • If uncertain or in doubt seek advice from your line manager/supervisor.

More specifics for the SVR are:

We use lubricants such as oil and grease which could be on steps or surfaces, they will give the surface less adhesion. This needs to be considered when assessing your working from height

We work with heritage rolling stock and locomotives, we need to compensate for the lack of safety features that are found on modern day equipment.


Some practical issues relating to duties which constitute working at height:

As a Guard/Shunter/Travelling Ticket Inspector:

  • Coupling up – electrical connections, corridor connections.

  • Tail Lamp – Climbing up to put on or take down the tail lamp

  • Climbing in to the Brake or carriage from ground level.

As a Driver/Fireman/Cleaner:

  • Climbing on to the loco from the ground into the cab or to clean the loco from the running plate

  • Climbing on to the tender to draw forward the coal

  • Climbing on the loco to prepare or dispose

  • Climbing onto the loco tender or tank to water the loco.

  • Changing loco lamps

In other departments:

  • Using a step ladder to get something from a shelf or to perform some routine simple maintenance or cleaning tasks

In the above situations, what should I do?

  • If using a step ladder or other temporary access equipment, ensure that the equipment is in good condition and is on a stable footing. Ideally get a colleague to hold the step ladder whilst it is being used.

  • Do not stand on the very top step?

  • Make sure that the surface and/or supports you are using to support you are not rotten or slippy because of lubricants.

  • Make sure if possible that you have at least three points of contact when climbing or in a position of height.  For example, two feet on a running board and hand on the grab rail if cleaning a locomotive, or when climbing up to or down from a Brake or carriage from ground level.