HGV lorry driving along the road

Briefing: Height safety in transport and logistics

While the logistics industry is generally perceived as safer compared to sectors like construction or manufacturing, working at height remains a significant hazard. Tasks such as loading and unloading lorries and containers entail inherent height risks, posing dangers to workers. Neglecting mandatory working at height regulations not only jeopardises worker safety but also exposes businesses to legal penalties and reputational harm. This briefing looks at the issues.

A recent incident underscores the severity of working from height. A delivery driver sustained a traumatic brain injury after falling from a trailer at a site in Walsall, resulting in a hefty fine of £380,000 for the company involved. Investigations revealed lapses in implementing safe work systems, including inadequate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and a lack of measures to prevent accidents involving forklift trucks. Despite awareness of workplace transport risks, the company failed to enforce necessary control measures and site rules.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £380,000 and ordered to pay £5,934.50 in costs.

In the broader context of transport and logistics, several common hazards demand attention:

  • Access to vehicles and loading bays presents risks of falls, emphasising the need for secure gangways, proper training and fall protection gear.
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection activities atop lorries or delivery vans necessitate proper access equipment and training in safe practices.
  • Loading and unloading cargo involve risks of falls from trailers or container beds, mitigated by secure loading zones, fall arrest systems and comprehensive training.
  • Roof access for maintenance purposes requires precautionary measures such as safe access routes, fall protection and thorough risk assessments.


The Work at Height Regulations 2005 aim to prevent fatalities and injuries resulting from falls. Employers and those in control of work at height must ensure proper planning, supervision and competent execution of tasks, along with the use of appropriate equipment. Risk assessment is paramount, with employees bearing legal duties to prioritise safety and cooperate with employers in fulfilling health and safety obligations.

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlight the gravity of falls from height, which accounted for 40 fatal injuries to UK workers in 2023. With an average of 34 fatal injuries per year over the last five years, falls remain a significant concern, making them the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the UK. Common causes include improper ladder use, insecure platforms and inadequate equipment, underscoring the urgent need for robust safety measures and compliance with regulations.

To effectively manage the risks of falling from height in the transport and logistics industry, employers should prioritise comprehensive training for all workers involved in tasks at elevated positions.

  • Ensure that employees are well-versed in safe working practices, including the proper use of access equipment and fall protection gear.
  • Implement robust safety protocols, such as secure gangways and designated loading zones, to minimise the likelihood of accidents during vehicle access and cargo handling.
  • Regularly conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement appropriate control measures.
  • Encourage a culture of vigilance and communication among workers, empowering them to report any safety concerns promptly.
  • Compliance with relevant regulations, including The Work at Height Regulations 2005, is non-negotiable, so ensure that all operations adhere to legal standards.


By prioritising training, implementing safety protocols and fostering a safety-conscious culture, businesses can effectively mitigate the risks associated with working at height in the transport and logistics sector.

International Workplace's Working at height course is a half-day course, delivered via virtual classroom or face-to-face classroom by one of our qualified trainers.

During the Working at height course, you will cover the following modules:

  • Introduction to working at heights.
  • The legislation regarding working at heights, including the requirements of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
  • Minimising the hazards and risk assessment.
  • Use of work equipment when working from heights.
  • Fall arrest equipment, harness use and rope work.
  • Emergency procedures.


Find out more here.