How to prevent falls when working at height
Working at height is something that is a routine, and expected, part of some jobs (say, for a scaffolder) but is actually not infrequent in other jobs too, like teaching. Whenever someone undertakes work at height - regardless of how often - they need to be mindful of the risks involved.
According to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) working at height accident statistics, one in four of all fatal work-related accidents involve someone falling from height. In 2017/18, 44,000 people also suffered non-fatal injuries as a result of a fall from height at work.
As far as health and safety is concerned, you are considered to be ‘working at height’ if you are working in any place where there is a possibility that you could fall from a distance high enough to cause an injury. For example, you are working at height if you are:
- Working on a ladder, or a flat roof
- Working on a fragile surface, which you could fall from/through
- Working near enough to an opening in a floor, or a hole in the ground, where there is a risk of falling.
Preventing falls when working from height
These three simple checks should - if followed - remove or reduce the risk of a fall from height at work.
1. Check to make sure you need to work at height
It may be the case that a job which looks - at first glance - like it needs someone to work at height, could actually be done much closer to the ground. If you think you might have to work at height, make sure that all other possibilities of completing the work at ground level have been exhausted first. If, for example, a piece of equipment needs to be installed on top of a roof, it could be that much of the assembly could be done at ground level, before it is hoisted up. This minimises the amount of time necessary on the roof, and along with it, the risk of injury.
2. Inspect your work surfaces – and speak up
If you need to work at height make sure that the surface you are working on does not increase the likelihood of a fall from height occurring. Is the surface flat? Is it clear of any unnecessary obstructions? Does it have fencing around the perimeter to prevent falls? Is scaffolding present? Is there a safety net to cushion any fall? If these measures have not been taken and it is clear that they should be, then you must make your employer aware, ideally in writing so there is a record should the worst happen and you do fall and would later like to explore making a scaffolding accident claim.
3. Make sure you have all your equipment
Whether you are a tree surgeon, a window cleaner or work in the construction industry, your employer is legally obligated to provide the correct equipment to ensure that you are safe while at work. That might include harnesses to keep you secure, ropes to hold on to when climbing a building façade or a cradle to work.
Making a fall from height at work claim
If you, or a loved one, have been injured after a fall from height at work, and you feel that the employer involved had not followed one, or more, of the three very basic tests above, you may want to pursue a case for fall from height compensation.
Working at height accident compensation claims can be complicated, so it’s important to work with a specialist workplace accident solicitor, like Thompsons.
Thompsons has never, and will never, act for employers or insurance companies – putting us firmly on the side of injured workers and their families. We bring significant legal expertise to the table, and have a formidable track record of bringing some of the biggest names in construction to book, winning millions of pounds in compensation for injured or mistreated workers in the process.
If you’ve been injured in a fall from height in the last three years, don’t suffer in silence – speak up. Making a fall from height compensation claim can help to secure financial compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as lost earnings. Your case can also help to make things safer for other workers, by pushing risks to the top of the agenda and making employers pay attention.
Considering starting a fall from height at work claim?
You can read stories from some of the people we’ve already helped to make a fall from height compensation claim by clicking on the link below. Alternatively, you can find out more information about how our solicitors will support you on our accident at work claims page.