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Developed and maintained by the NFCC


Fragile surface or ground conditions

Hazard Knowledge

The operating environment for work at height varies and can include:

  • Roofs
  • Cliff tops
  • Unstable or collapsed structures
  • Steep embankments

Rope access and rope rescue personnel must be aware of the physical condition of the surfaces they are working on. Roofs may be weak, embankments and cliff tops may be steep, slippery or have loose surface materials, and some built environments may be unstable and weaker than they first seem.

With this in mind, fire and rescue personnel must remember that while the equipment they use is regularly inspected, tested and maintained, the areas they traverse and attach to are not. These must be stringently examined and suitable precautions taken.