Core Syllabus

In 2004/05, 53 people died and nearly 3800 suffered a serious injury as a result of a fall from height.  All industry sectors are exposed to the risks presented by this hazard although the level of incidence varies considerably.

As part of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (that came into effect on 6 April 2005), those involved in work at height must be competent (or, if being trained, supervised by a competent person). In addition, every person shall report any activity or defect relating to work at height that he knows is likely to endanger the safety of himself or another person.

The concept for this syllabus was borne initially out the desire to establish what every worker should know about work at height activity to keep them safe, until they have been fully trained in any particular aspect. It is not a substitute for detailed training to undertake a task, but provides basic information on safe working practice for work at height. It is recommended that these be covered in training courses.

Height safety training, in common with all other training, is dependent upon the quality of the training provider, the syllabus to be delivered and the way in which it is delivered. It is recommended, therefore, that delivery of this syllabus be carried out in accordance with a recognised standard such as BS 8454, Delivery of training for work at a height. The use of the syllabus on its own will not necessarily guarantee the quality of the training that a trainee receives.

It is envisaged currently that the delivery of the syllabus be undertaken in one of a number of ways:

  1. As a ‘Foundation Course’ (and a pre-requirement of existing specialised courses).
  2. In full, within existing specialised courses.
  3. In part, within existing specialised courses (using the generic information relevant to all industries together with the industry-specific information relevant to the industry delivering the course).

The syllabus does not have third-party accreditation (for example), so course providers will need to be very clear in any course literature, or claims, about the parts of the syllabus being delivered.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) welcomes this syllabus and considers it an important document in supporting the effective management of work at height. It is an example of partnership working between HSE and Industry. HSE would like to thank those involved for their valued input and the often lively and wide-ranging debate.

First Published in April 2006, a copy can be freely downloaded here:

Download ACWAHT Syllabus (pdf 277Kb)


Although care has been taken to ensure, to the best of our knowledge, that all data and information contained herein are accurate to the extent that they relate to either matters of fact or accepted practice or matters of opinion at the time of publication, the ACWAHT, the authors and the reviewers assume no responsibility for any errors in or misrepresentations of such data and/or information or any loss or damage arising from or related to their use.

Page last updated  18/4/2006

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