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Fall From Height Firm Repeats Unsecured Ladder Offence

17th December 2013
Falls from height never seem to fall from the headlines. They remain the most common cause of fatality and accident claims in the workplace. Between 2011 and 2012, falls from height accounted for nearly 15 per cent of the 22,433 major injuries reported and, according to a Labour Force Survey, around half a million working days were estimated to have been lost due to self-reported, non-fatal workplace injuries.

Yet, time and time again, injury claims cases are brought where a firm has failed to observe the most basic safety procedures to protect their workers from an avoidable accident taking place.

One example recently reported involved a Monmouth roofing firm who had already been to court less than six months earlier for a similar safety prevention failure. In the earlier incident, a 26 year old employee fell from a roof where there was an absence of scaffolding around the edge of the roof to prevent a fall, which caused a fractured wrist and further cuts and bruising.

In the present case, not only was there the same lack of essential safety equipment but it was also observed – and then reported - that company employees had been using an unsecured ladder to reach the roof. On this occasion, the company was charged with two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and a total of £ 18,237 ( inc. costs) for “failing to properly plan work at height” and “not ensuring measures were taken to prevent workers from being injured in a fall.”

A basic safety issue

The work practices of residential / domestic roofers may be easily observed by any concerned passerby from the street. Yet, it seems incredible to hear that any roofing company would not attend to a basic safety issue involving the proper securing of their ladders or comply with the legal requirements of the Work at Height Regulations, which have been in force for nearly ten years.

Under the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) places specific responsibilities upon employers, the self-employed, and any person who controls the work of others to ensure “all work at height is properly planned and organised, the risks assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used.”

Click here to find out more about the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007 at the HSE website.