Some Statistics on Falls From Height
Falls from height are one of the biggest contributors to workplace fatalities and major injuries. In 14/15, falls from height accounted for 29% of fatal injuries and 16% of specified injuries1. It has been estimated that falls from heights lead to 567,000 lost working days per annum in the UK alone2.
Definition: Work from height means work in any place where if there were no safeguards in place, an individual (or individuals) could fall a distance far enough to cause personal injury.
Main Causes of Working at Height Accidents
The main two causes of working at height accidents are falls from ladders and fragile roofs.
Other common causes include falls from:
- Roof edges
- Machinery and/or Plant
Whilst it is easy to imagine how you could fall from a ladder, it is more difficult to imagine how falling from a fragile roof occurs. Typically, the following are likely to be fragile:
- Roof lights
- Rotten chipboard
- Loose slates and/or tiles
- Liner panels
- Corroded sheets of metal
Avoiding Falls from Heights: Common Sense
Before undertaking any work, there are a number of common sense steps which need to be considered in order to remove risk. These are:
- You should avoid working at height where possible
- Where this isn’t possible, then falls can be prevented by using the right type of equipment or existing safe working areas
Mistakenly, people often think that ladders and step ladders are banned or discouraged from being used in the workplace. However, this is not the case as in many situations these tools could be the most appropriate for use. It is the unsafe use which is the problem!
In a workplace, employees have a responsibility under law to take “reasonable” care of themselves and any others around them who may be impacted by their actions. This includes cooperating with their employer and any safeguards and health and safety duties that may be required.
Whilst employees have a general legal responsibility as outlined above, employers have a far more specific set of rules and regulations which must be followed. These are set out in the Work at Height Regulations 2005, the purpose of which is to prevent injury and death due to falls from height.
In general, to help comply with regulations, employers should ensure that:
- As much work as possible is carried out from the ground
- Work is properly and adequately planned
- Workers can access where they have to work at height with ease
- Equipment is appropriate for use and well maintained
- Protection is provided for individuals
- Emergency evacuations and rescue procedures are put in place
- Measures which can protect everyone should be considered before those designed to solely protect the individual
Two areas which can make a huge difference is the planning of work and the selection and maintenance of equipment.
When planning work, it is vital to ensure that:
- Work is planned, supervised and performed by suitably competent individuals (qualified where applicable)
- The area in which you are working is safe
- Weather conditions are considered (if outside, high winds and rain can make working treacherous)
- Materials and objects are prevented from falling and if not practical, then exclusion zones should be introduced to ensure no one is put at risk from falling objects
- Materials should be stored safely
- Emergencies and rescue plans are considered in case the worst case eventuality does occur
When selecting and using equipment for working at height, the following must be ensured:
- The most suitable equipment for the job should be provided. This requires consideration of the working environment, the safety of those performing and those in the vicinity and the nature, frequency and duration of the task
- Equipment should be assembled and installed in line with manufacturers instructions
- Equipment should not be used until it has been inspected by a competent individual
- Equipment should be inspected at regular intervals by a competent person and records kept
- All rental equipment should have paperwork with it verifying the most recent inspection date.
- Usage of rental equipment is subject to same safety standards as all other equipment
Can I Make an Injury Claim?
Employers have a responsibility to enforce the Work at Height Regulations in order to best protect the wellbeing of their staff and others in the vicinity of any work being undertaken.
Any employer who neglects to do so can cause an unsafe working environment, and if you’ve suffered injury as a result then you can make a claim.
How Can Injury Lawyers UK Help You?
Here, at Injury Lawyers UK, we have a team of experienced, professional and highly specialised personal injury lawyers. With over 20 years of experience in making successful personal injury claims, you can rest assured they are well placed to advise you and handle your claim.
We work on a no win, no fee basis meaning no risk to you. We always fight to get the maximum possible award for you and we do this on your behalf allowing you to focus on what matters most, your recovery.
We pride ourselves on speaking in plain English (no legal jargon) and keep you informed and updated throughout the process, so you never have to spend time chasing us up.
Our main aim is to take the stress and hassle away from you in a time when your focus should be elsewhere;we work hard for you, so you don’t have to. If the claim involves your current employer that’s no issue; we have experience of dealing sensitively with such issues.
Get in Touch And Make A Claim Today
Do you think you might have a claim and want more information? If so, our experienced lawyers are on hand so either give us a call on 0800 1123 156, text “CONTACT” to 80011 or complete our quick claim form online and we can get started.