The study compared human perceptions of height, danger, and anxiety, as well as skin conductance and heart rate responses and postural instability effects, in real and virtual height environments. The 24 participants (12 men, 12 women), whose average age was 23.6 years, performed "lean-over-the-railing" and standing tasks on real and comparable virtual balconies, using a surround-screen virtual reality (SSVR) system. The results indicate that the virtual display of elevation provided realistic perceptual experience and induced some physiological responses and postural instability effects comparable to those found in a real environment. It appears that a simulation of elevated work environment in a SSVR system, although with reduced visual fidelity, is a valid tool for safety research. Potential applications of this study include the design of virtual environments that will help in safe evaluation of human performance at elevation, identification of risk factors leading to fall incidents, and assessment of new fall prevention strategies.