When You Should Say “No” To Working At Heights


When it comes to working at heights, the majority of projects usually needs to be completed ASAP. While safety is the key to successful project completion, many managers overlook small things, which may lead to a disaster. Not many employers admit to trying to complete a project at all costs. However, some of them do just that. Especially, when each hour of delay turns into hundreds or even sometimes thousands of dollars. When should you say “no” to working at heights?

  1. Health Problems

Not too many workers call in sick especially when the deadline is upon them. Meanwhile, something as seemingly unimportant as a runny nose can interfere with the process. What starts with a sore throat can lead to high body temperatures in just a couple of hours. A worker with a fever is a hazard to both himself or herself and co-workers. Working at heights with a fever shouldn’t be allowed.

  1. Ill-Fitting Safety Gear

While the majority of employers pay special attention to the safety gear, only workers can understand whether it fits them correctly. What may be suitable for one worker can be out of questions for another. When new workers arrive on the site, they must test the gear before climbing high up. Ill-fitting equipment is the reason to say “no”. While it may still keep the worker safe, it will probably interfere with the work process.

  1. Bad Weather

Certain guidelines exist forbidding working at heights when the weather is bad. While strong winds can easily topple the equipment over, rain and snow can make the platform slippery. If the weather is getting worse, it’s important to stop the work before it’s too late. Each worker has the right to stop when the situation seems hazardous. Each employer should monitor weather conditions.

  1. Improper Equipment

Different height access equipment is required for different projects. For example, trying to achieve maneuvering in a tight space with a telescopic boom lift is impossible. Using such equipment calls for hazardous actions on the workers’ part, such as reaching beyond the platform and guardrails. It’s important to say “no” before climbing heights in order to replace the equipment with a more suitable option. Numerous reasons exist for refusing to work at heights since safety comes first regardless of the deadlines.



The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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