- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 May 2018
Working at height training
Health and safety in the workplace is an area that needs constant reassessment and re-evaluation as industrial practices evolve. Despite rigorous efforts to address safety issues, more than 1 million people are injured in the workplace each year, many of them as a result of working at height. When it comes to fatal injuries, working at height is consistently the greatest single factor, despite a drop from 42 to 37 fatalities from 2014/15 to 2015/16.
This is how the fatal accidents in the workplace were distributed in 2015/16:
- Falls from height: 37
- Struck by moving vehicle: 27
- Struck by moving object: 15
- Trapped by overturning: 13
- Contact with machinery: 9
- Drowning or asphyxiation: 8
 Industries needing working at height training
This is a very tough one to summarise as almost any industry may one day need one or more of their employees to work at height. Having said that, the most at risk industries tend to include: construction and roofing, telecommunications, roadwork operations, warehousing, window-cleaning and decorating and even fishing and the offshore wind industry.
There are, of course, other sectors that involve working at height and the general rule of thumb is that if as a company you can envisage any of your employees working at height on any given day then you should ensure that your employees and managers are adequately trained.
While there are all sorts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items on the market the best way to prevent injury in the workplace from working at height is to minimise the risk. The first and most effective way to do this is to ensure all relevant staff are trained. This will allow them to evaluate environmental conditions, place working equipment in the right place, create thorough risk assessments and recognise how long it is safe to work at height and wherever possible make decisions which render working at height unnecessary.
 Promoting safe behaviour
Messing around from time to time with colleagues can be a good team-building exercise, but this is never appropriate when working at height. Making sure that everyone understands the gravity of the situation is of paramount importance and ensuring that everyone is regularly kept up to date with training will reinforce this culture of safety.
This may seem like an obvious point, but just imagine that an inadequately trained employee is sent to work at height. They will be unsure of what they are doing and the best practice and as such will inevitably take longer to get the job done. Training may seem like a costly expense, but it can also increase efficiency.
 Saving money in the long term
Splashing out on training may not seem an obvious cost-cutting exercise, but bear in mind that health and safety training can cut down on down-time, eliminate potentially damaging HSE fines and legal battles that can result from injuries obtained in the workplace. There should be a strong moral reason for ensuring training is given, but it is also worth mentioning the long term financial sense.
 Increasing confidence and morale
There are few traits worse than a lack of confidence among employees. When employees are well trained and feel safe and comfortable in the workplace their confidence levels will increase, leading to better performance and self-esteem, which reduces the risk of stress-related absences.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Crane supports.
- Crane regulations.
- Dynamic self-retracting lanyard.
- Health and Safety.
- How to use a ladder.
- Injuries on construction sites.
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
- Near miss.
- Safety briefing.
- Scaffold register.
- Toolbox talk.
- Types of crane.
- Work at height regulations.
Featured articles and news
An artist finds ruined and decaying buildings a source of inspiration for his work. Book review.
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.
If you’re a great writer and have practical experience of the construction industry, it could be you.
Frustrated by long documents or technical jargon? Put off by sign-up forms or costs? Take this 5 min survey to help improve construction knowledge.