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Avoiding and Reporting Fall From Height Accidents at Work

By Head of Employers' Liability

For anyone working at height, laws are in place which all employers and workplaces must follow to minimise any risk to employees.

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Inflite Engineering Limited, an aircraft engineering company, was recently fined following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation after two workers fell from height while carrying out checks at the tail of an aeroplane.

The men fell between 10 to 15 feet. One employee, a 62-year-old man, suffered three fractures to his pelvis, a broken back, three broken ribs, a fractured elbow and a punctured right lung. The second man, 60, suffered a broken wrist and a chipped a bone on his spine.

In a case such as this, a worker may incur a loss of earnings, meaning they are unable to cover their usual costs of living, and may also face expensive medical costs as a result of the accident, for which an accident at work claim would provide financial support.

The HSE’s investigation found that no suitable risk assessment was in place and there was a lack of effective monitoring.

In order to prevent such incidents, under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, it is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that all employees are kept safe at work. Where your employer fails in this duty of care, you are entitled to bring a legal claim following an accident at work. Five ways employers have a duty of care towards you are:

  1. Providing safe equipment or machinery
  2. Ensuring safe manual handling procedures
  3. Providing a safe working environment
  4. Following health and safety regulations as opposed to ‘one off’ requests
  5. Holding employer’s liability insurance.

 

 

 

Pursuing a claim for compensation following a fall from height accident at work could be absolutely crucial for your financial and physical well-being – especially is you face a long road to recovery during which you are unable to earn an income. I am currently appointed by a client who was working as an aircraft engineer. He attempted to disembark the aircraft he was working on using the provided set of steps and lighting conditions were very poor. As he descended the steps it became apparent that the handrails had not been engaged and the steps themselves had been painted non-slip matte black. He unfortunately lost his footing and fell several feet onto concrete, sustaining a nasty pelvic fracture, multiple rib fractures and an 80 per cent chance of requiring a hip replacement during the remainder of his working life.

In a case such as this, a worker may incur a loss of earnings, meaning they are unable to cover their usual costs of living, and may also face expensive medical costs as a result of the accident, for which an accident at work claim would provide financial support.

RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations which govern who must report accidents at work, and how they must be reported. For non-fatal injuries, a RIDDOR report must be completed if the injury is a reportable injury and has arisen from a work-related accident.

The HSE website includes a full list of reportable incidents, which include:

  • Injuries requiring employees to be absent – or unable to perform their normal work duties – for seven consecutive days
  • All injuries to members of the public, or people who are not on duty, that require hospital treatment and have arisen from an accident on work premises
  • Any injury which requires a hospital stay of more than 24 hours

 

For more information, please see: Accidents at Work – What is RIDDOR?

 

Damian Bradley is national head of employers’ liability at Slater and Gordon Lawyers, based in Manchester.

The expert employers’ liability solicitors at Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for anyone injured at work. Most cases are handled on a no win, no fee basis, meaning there is no financial risk to you.

For more information, please see our legal case studies.

Call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Accident at Work, employer liability

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