Lack of awareness and complacency are the main causes of serious accidents and fatalities for employees working at height, a leading training specialist has warned.

Develop Training Limited (DTL) made the comments after supermarket Iceland was fined £2.5 million for an incident when a contractor fell to his death.

The victim was replacing air conditioning filters in the warehouse of a Rotherham store when he plunged three metres from a platform through a suspended ceiling. Investigators found there were no barriers, restricted working space and several tripping hazards including cabling, and that there had been no risk assessment.

Steve Braund, marketing manager at DTL, said: “This is the latest in an all-too-frequent series of cases where people have been killed or injured because of inadequate precautions.”

DTL has identified lack of awareness and complacency as major contributing factors in many of the cases.

“Common themes crop up time and time again, fragile roofs and skylights in particular, and employers using contractors without effectively checking the contractor will themselves use safe systems of work,” said Braund. “Almost every week there is a report of a death or serious injury of people working at height. Poor assessment of risk, and inadequate control measures, continue to lead to hundreds of shattered lives.”

DTL has produced a handy pocket guide to raise awareness of the factors managers, employees and contractors should consider before commencing working at height.

The free-to-download guide is available at