In the UK, many industries require their workers to work at height, using ladders or platforms. Falls are not uncommon and they usually result in an injury, sadly a percentage of these falls are fatal. Almost all of these accidents are preventable, meaning human or mechanical error is the cause. But if you work at height how can you work more safely?

During the period 2013-2014, there were 3038 injuries and 19 fatalities due to falling from heights at work, with manufacturing, construction and agriculture being high-risk industries for this kind of injury. Studies show that when you fall from a height you are most likely to injure your knees, ankles and back, though shoulder and chest injuries are not uncommon. Head injuries sustained in a fall from height often prove to be fatal.

Many jobs require staff to work from height, from shops to construction sites, working from height is a daily requirement and the risks should be taken seriously. Falls from ladders are common and there are some safety measures you should take if you need to climb a ladder as part of your job:

  • Check the ladder before use to ensure it had no obvious defects
  • Only use your ladder on firm, level ground
  • Secure your ladder by tying it to a suitable, stable point, use footings where you can
  • Use the ladder sensibly, keep both hands free to grip the ladder, don’t overreach, don’t balance on one foot, keep safety your priority
  • Wear a safety harness and hard hat as appropriate

Apart from ladders, common falls from height also include falls from roofs, buildings under construction, platforms, and hoists as well as less common things such as horses, boats, and into pits or holes.

When you are required to work at a height, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have a number of suggestions for minimising the risk of injury. Your employer has a number of responsibilities to you and your colleagues and should conduct a full and thorough risk assessment and act upon it. Additionally they should –

  • Work to redesign the task where possible to eliminate the need to work at height
  • Enable you to work in the safest way practicable, by giving you safer ways of working, for example, a work platform would be safer than a ladder or introducing a process that is safer for you
  • Introduce policies and procedures to maximise safety and give training where appropriate
  • Offer personal protective equipment such as safety harnesses, appropriate footwear and a safety helmet

If you have been injured in an accident at work, such as a fall from a height, then you may be able to claim accident at work compensation. A fall from height can have devastating consequences, leaving you severely injured and unable to work. Call GO-Law today to see if you have a claim.

If you have had a fall at work and you want to know whether you have a claim, please call Justine or Geraint at GO- Law on 01625 523 838 or email us on gowen@go-law.co.uk