Falls from Height – It’s still a major problem!
Here we are again! For years the Health & Safety Executive has identified falls from height as one of the single biggest causes of death and major injury in the workplace. Tragically, nearly all these deaths and injuries are easily avoidable if employers had properly risk assessed, supervised and planned the work.
Three recently reported HSE prosecutions against employers highlight the fact that these warnings are still not being taken seriously and workers remain at risk. Reports of the three cases can be found on the HSE website here:
In all three cases the accidents were easily avoidable but in all three cases insufficient thought and planning by the employer exposed their workers to serious injury. Will employers ever learn?
Working at height is dangerous and there are a specific set of statutory regulations dealing with this type of work – The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended by the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007). These regulations apply if work involves the risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury.
Every employer has an overriding duty to do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anyone from falling. They must:
- Avoid work at height where they can;
- Use work equipment or other methods to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height; and
- Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.
To comply with these obligations every employer must ensure:
- All work at height is properly planned and organised;
- All work at height takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety;
- All employees working at height must be properly trained and competent;
- The place where work at height is done must be safe;
- Equipment for work at height must be appropriately inspected;
- The risks from fragile surfaces must be properly controlled; and
- The risks from falling objects must be properly controlled.
If you have been injured from a fall at height, or by a falling object, you should be able to claim compensation for your injury and all associated financial losses including loss of earnings, private medical treatment and care provided by friends or relatives.
If you have an enquiry about falls from height or any work related accident contact me for a free discussion or interview.