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Campaign to Raise Awareness of Falls from Height

October 24, 2016 Personal Injury Claims

A new campaign to raise awareness of the impact that accidents at work, and in particular accidents involving falls from height, can have on workers and their families has been launched by safety charity RoSPA.

Falls from Height

RoSPA highlights that falls from height were the most common cause of work-related fatalities in 2013/14, with nearly three in ten (29%) fatal injuries to workers – a total of 39 deaths. They also caused 3,317 major or specified injuries and 3,165 injuries where an employee was unable to work for seven days.

“Despite huge strides in workplace health and safety in Britain, falls from height are still a major problem, so it is an ideal issue to tackle as part of RoSPA’s first #OSHtober,” explained Dr Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s occupational safety and health policy adviser.

The campaign provides tips, facts and statistics about falls from height, as well as a free e-book, blog posts, web page and infographics, and the #OSHtober hashtag helping to spread the word.

HSE Investigations

The Health and Safety Executive is frequently called upon to investigate incidents where workers have been injured, sometimes fatally, following a fall from height.

In one recently reported case, a worker sustained serious injuries after falling seven metres from a scaffold access ladder.

The man had been subcontracted by a roofing company to assist with removing waste, mixing cement and bringing tools up to colleagues who were working on the chimney at a domestic property in July 2015.

The company had erected a scaffold platform around the chimney with an access ladder attached to it. The worker climbed up the ladder carrying a cement filled bucket with a radio attached to it, on his shoulder. He lost his balance and fell approximately seven metres to the ground. The fall resulted in multiple fractures to both of his wrists and his lower left arm. He required surgery and steel plates and will never regain full use of his hands.

Failure to Adequately Plan

When the HSE conducted its investigation into the incident, it found that the roofing company had failed to adequately plan work at height that involved manual handling of construction materials and waste up and down scaffold ladders.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,582 in costs.

“The risk of falls from ladders is well known,” commented HSE Inspector Kasia Urbaniak. “Ladders are being frequently misused where often better specifically designed equipment is easily available.”

“This incident which has left a worker without the full use of his hands could have been easily avoided if a ‘gin wheel’ had been installed on the scaffold platform to transport tools and other construction materials,” she added.

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