Article 23 January 2023

Managing Working at Height Activity

Last year we launched a new Working at Height Procedure which marked a significant change in the way Mitie controlled work at height by introducing categories and appointed roles.  Due to the level of change we stated that we would listen to feedback and review the procedure, to ensure it works for all parts of Mitie, and have since conducted a second review. 

Neil Chapman (QHSE Head – Projects) has recorded a short introduction video that can be viewed here

A summary of the changes


 There are now 2 categories of Working at Height activity:

  • Category 1 (Low Risk) includes working from ladders, hop ups, podiums, push arounds, step ladders, travelling ladders and gantries, fixed ladders and walkways, scaffold towers and work on non-fragile roofs.
  • Category 2 (High Risk) includes rope access and climbing, working from suspended access equipment, work at height within confined spaces, roof works on fragile surfaces or using roof ladders and the use of fixed horizontal or vertical fall protection systems.

All works require a pre-work assessment to be made to determine the category, so subsequent controls that meet the procedure can be implemented. 

The process for reviewing a risk, allows for work that may appear to sit in Category 1, to be escalated to Category 2 where the risk is higher due to the task or environment – factors that effect this decision are outlined within the manual and the training.

The four key Authorised Roles are:

  • Authorising Engineer (AE), who will:
    • Define scope of activity that requires an AP
    • Appointment of APs
    • Issue letter of appointment
  • Authorised Person (AP), who will:
    • Define the scope of works for a CP
    • Appoint a CP (including monitoring performance and coaching)
    • Issue and manage Authority to Works
  • Competent Person (CP), who will:
    • Carry out works on behalf of Mitie
    • Carry out dynamic risk assessment and pre use equipment checks
    • Liaise with AP on risk when not previously identified
  • Instructed Person (IP), who will:
    • Trained and competent to work on a single piece of Cat 1 access equipment in a low risk environment.

The other change recognised in this procedure with regards to Authorised Roles, is that a Subcontractor can be appointed as an AP where they meet the Skills, Knowledge, Experience and Training (SKET) requirements – this appointment would be for an agreed period of time and be restricted to the applicable contract.

Authority to Work

The new procedure clarifies when an Authority to Work should be issued to control the works.  An Authority to Work is not a permit and can be issued for longer than a single shift, it can cover a period of time, for a set activity, once the Authorised Person is satisfied that;

  • An initial review has taken place and been risk scored
  • The AP has reviewed the scope of work and the proposed safe system of work
  • The AP is satisfied the persons involved have the correct SKET

Process Maps

Two process maps, one for planned activities and one for reactive works, have been added to the procedure which makes it clear how to implement the procedure for all works.

The Manual

The manual provides guidance on the 2 categories of work, working environments and information on supplementary equipment, including individual and collective measures.  Additional information has also been provided regarding Rescue Plans.


The principles of the new procedure and manual should be implemented immediately. To support this, we have also developed an implementation plan, which you can request here.  The plan should be used to identify the categories of work you have, the people you are assessing for Authorised Roles and the progress you are making towards full compliance. 

Supporting Documents

All documents relating to Working at Height can be found on the IMS.  For those responsible for (or involved in) the management of Working at Height Activity, the following documents are essential reading:

  • Working at Height Procedure MG(HSOH)206
  • Working at Height Manual MG(HSOH)002M

Please contact your local QHSE representative to arrange a briefing on the changes.