Back to Blog

Fall from Height Work Accidents, Yet Another Breach of Health & Safety

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

Many Personal Injury Solicitors welcomed the Work At Height Regulations 2005 as these regulations were long overdue.  

They were led by a vast number of employees, labourers and such like who were every year sustaining significant injuries after an accident at work and some being killed having fallen from a height.

As I was taking my son to school recently on the back of my bicycle, I passed as I do every day a very large construction site. There is invariably a lorry on the side of the construction site unloading materials, bricks, slates, bags of concrete etc.

Each day there is the same employee standing on or near to the back of the lorry. He had a harness fitted to him. The reason he has a harness fitted is that he in turn is tied to a cable which is fitted securely to a ratchet arrangement which in turn is fitted to the scaffolding.

The purpose of this arrangement is to ensure that if this employee, when assisting and unloading from the back of the lorry, falls that he will not fall to the ground but will be caught short by the mechanism I have referred to above. What an excellent idea!

The flat bed of the lorry is no more than a few feet off the ground. If this employee was to fall it is likely that any injuries would be minor. They may not of course. He may break his leg and his employer has put in place a very simple and effective arrangement to ensure that he is safe at all times when he was standing on the back of the lorry.

The point therefore about Health & Safety Regulations apart from those pre-regulations which impose strict liability, is that all they impose upon an employer a duty to act reasonably.

The Work At Height Regulations are not draconian. They do not require employers to spend significant sums in adopting a system which would be unworkable. They do however require an employer to give a situation some thought, to apply a sensible arrangement and to make sure that safety is considered and in doing so, the employer is more likely than not to comply with appropriate Health & Safety Regulations.

If there was any doubt as to what needs to be done, the Health & Safety Executive is there to assist.  They have a very comprehensive website. The vast majority of people have access to the web and a printer and information can be downloaded quite easily which is then easy to follow.

Therefore, a work accident claim that occurred last year when an employee fell through the roof of a barn that was being cleaned in Bishops Stortford simply should not have happened.

I understand on reading on the Health & Safety Executive website recently, that this employee, Mr Dasilewski and a colleague was standing on scaffolding boards placed over a roof to brush the area with brooms as instructed by their employers.

The asbestos cement roof they were standing on cracked and Mr Dasilewski fell some 5 metres to the concrete floor below suffering multiple fractures to his pelvis and ribs. He was unable to walk or work for several months.

His employers were fined. They were found to be in breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  The fines in total amounted to £8,000.00 together with just over £2,000.00 in costs also to be paid. This is a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive.

I have blogged previously on how I have some concerns that the Health & Safety Executive will not be able to work as efficiently in the future as they have done in the past due to Government cuts.

Tristan Hallam is a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in work accident claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

For more information or a free consultation about claiming compensation for a fall from heigth accident at work, call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you. 98% of the work accident claims that our Solicitors deal with are funded by a No Win, No Fee agreement.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.

Comments