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Falls from height ‘a major issue’ in Britain’s workplaces

If your job requires you to work from a height, there’ll always be risks involved. Even if you’re careful and follow the correct procedures, there’s a chance you could fall and seriously hurt yourself.

The truth is, accidents happen and the consequences of falling from height can be devastating for both you and your family. These incidents can cause life-changing injuries and at worst, they can even result in death.

Falls from height account for half of workplace deaths

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height accounted for nearly half (49%) of the 196 fatal injuries to workers that occurred in the construction sector in 2016/2017. Of the 5,055 non-fatal injuries that were reported from the same period, falls from a height accounted for 18%.

Commenting on these figures, HSE’s head of operational strategy Philip White said: “Each year, our statistics show falls from height remain a major issue within Britain’s workplaces, making it clear more still needs to be done across the industry to prevent these incidents happening.”

“It could be you”

In moving forward, Mr White said: “We want workers across Britain to realise falling from a height in work isn’t something that affects ‘someone else’ - it could be you.” The expert also called for “every single employer” to “take responsibility for protecting their workers so they can go home healthy”.

Falls from height in the food and drink industry

It’s not just in the construction industry where these types of accidents can happen. For example, in the food and drink industry, the HSE reports that falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatal injuries and they result in approximately 80 major injuries, such as fractured skulls and broken limbs, each year.

The HSE carried out an investigation into the scenarios in which falls occur in this industry. An investigation of 150 falls from height over a period of three years showed that 40% of workers fell from ladders, while 17% fell from vehicles. Where workers fell from vehicles, 35% had fallen from the back of a lorry, while 31% fell from forklift trucks and 13% from cab steps.

Other places where falls took place included machinery, platforms, stairs, roofing, scaffolding and warehouse racking.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005

According to the law, your employer has a duty to adhere to the Work at Height Regulations 2005. These rules were put in place to help prevent injury or death caused by a fall from height. In line with these regulations, an employer must make sure all work is planned and supervised. They’re also responsible for ensuring the people who carry out tasks are suitably competent.

Staying safe when working at height

When you’re at work, it’s important that you do what you can to ensure you’re safe at all times - especially if you’re working at height. While your employer has a duty to ensure you’re safe, as an employee, you’re also responsible for looking after yourself. To help you protect your wellbeing, here are some tips you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure the surface or equipment you’re using is strong and stable enough to support and withstand your weight.
  • Be careful to not overload ladders. If you’re taking anything up ladders, make sure you don’t exceed the maximum load.
  • Limit your time working at height and try to carry out as much work from the ground as possible. For example, take the time to assemble structures on the ground and then lift them into position using the appropriate lifting equipment.
  • Make sure you’re competent enough and have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out work from height.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing, footwear and accessories to protect yourself.
  • Ensure you can get to and from where you need to work in a safe manner.
  • Make sure all equipment used for working at height is maintained and checked regularly.
  • Undergo specialist safety training to further your understanding of the risks involved and how to stay safe when working from height.

Making a claim

Even if you’re careful, working from height can be extremely dangerous and you could seriously hurt yourself. If you’ve had fall at work and you believe that someone else was either partly or fully to blame, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.

At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, we’re perfectly placed to assist you. Our expert personal injury law solicitors will handle your case with the utmost care and respect at all times. We’re professional yet friendly in our approach, working closely with you every step of the way.

Regardless of the details surrounding the incident or the injuries you’ve sustained, don’t hesitate to get in touch. For a consultation, you can call our solicitors on freephone [[CallBackNumber]]. Alternatively, you can contact us online and we’ll get back to you.