Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

BMJ Open





PubMed ID



BMJ Publishing Group


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Swart, L., Claassen, N., & Buys, T. (2023). Mapping the evidence on assessment of fitness to work at heights: A scoping review protocol. BMJ Open, 13(5), article e067847.


Introduction Falls from height are a leading cause of serious injury and fatality globally. In South Africa, work at heights is regulated by occupational health and safety legislation, which places responsibility on employers to ensure their workers are fit for high-risk work. There is however no formal procedure or consensus on how fitness to work at heights should be assessed. This paper presents an a priori protocol for a scoping review that seeks to identify and map the current evidence base around the assessment of fitness to work at heights. It forms the initial phase of a PhD study aimed at developing an interdisciplinary consensus statement for assessing fitness to work at heights in the South African construction industry. Methods and analysis This scoping review will follow the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review framework and will be guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR) checklist. An iterative search will be conducted in a selection of multidisciplinary databases including, Proquest Central, PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, Web of Science, PsychINFO and Google Scholar. Thereafter, searches for grey literature will be performed in and websites of various national and international agencies, governing bodies and professional organisations with an interest in occupational health and work at heights. Where appropriate, targeted requests for clarification for further information will be undertaken with information sources. A descriptive qualitative content analysis of the results will be conducted and a level of evidence rating will be assigned to each study using the JBI approach. This will allow us to provide some commentary on the rigour of the existing evidence base. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval for the PhD study was granted by the Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, ethics reference number, 486/2021. Results of the scoping review will be submitted to a scientific journal for publication. Trial registration number This protocol is registered on the Open Science Framework at



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License