Working at height: Critical training points to protect your team

Working at height continues to be the number one cause of workplace fatalities in the UK. Recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show 40 people lost their lives as a result of falls from height between April 2022 and March 2023 – 11 more than the previous year. 

Fall-from-height injury levels also show no signs of improvement. 5,000 people in Britain suffered a work-from-height-related injury last year, leading to 992,000 working days lost. The majority of these accidents involved low-level falls from two metres or under.

Whatever your business, training your staff to recognise, avoid, and act on work-at-height risks is a critical priority. This article shares crucial coaching points and guidance on developing a results-based training programme for your team. 

  • Clear training goals – Your training programme should help staff understand the specific hazards linked to working at height. This will differ depending on your business but will include guidance on approved equipment use, safety procedures, and risk assessments.
  • Safe working practices – Teach your team to avoid working at height altogether, finding safer alternatives that complete tasks from the ground. If this isn’t possible, staff should know how to carry out a thorough risk assessment and follow recommended control measures.   
  • Correct equipment use – Your training programme should cover types of fall protection equipment – including harnesses, lanyards, and guardrails – as well as how to use and maintain them. 
  • Ladder safety (and alternative options) – Offer targeted training on ladder safety and introduce the range of safer alternatives like access platforms, scissor lifts, and mobile steps.
  • Secure movement at height – Ensure workers know how to safely access and exit the place where they’re working at height and how to take extra precautions on or near fragile surfaces. Emphasise the importance of stable platforms and stairways.
  • Effective communication – Outline key communication and coordination techniques for work at height, including clear roles and responsibilities, pre-task briefings, and verbal and visual signalling methods.
  • Emergency procedures – Your team should know the vital steps to take in the event of a fall, including minimising further risks, accessing rescue equipment, and liaising with emergency services. 
  • Inspection, maintenance, and reporting – Train workers to conduct regular equipment and site checks, follow strict maintenance routines, and report current and emerging issues, including near misses and safety incidents. 

Questions about work-from-height training? Get in touch 

Opus Safety’s flexible training solutions target your top health and safety concerns – from falls from height to manual handling and first aid. Find out more on our training pages or chat with your Opus consultant on 0330 043 4015 or

You can also check out our recent prosecutions blog series for specialist tips on identifying fall-from-height hazards and implementing tailored controls.