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Liverpool Firm Fined For Failure To Adequately Safeguard Working From Height.

17th December 2013
A Merseyside demolition firm has recently been issued with an immediate Prohibition Notice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and fined £5,000 because of inadequacies in safeguarding workforce employees who “work at height.”

Under Section 22 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, an HSE inspector is “allowed to serve a Prohibition Notice on a person if s/he is of the opinion that an activity carried on (or likely to be carried on) by or under the control of that person involves (or will involve) a risk of serious personal injury.”

In the current case, a complaint had been made over work practices observed at the firm's Liverpool-based site where workers were seen climbing over areas of a demolished building without appropriate safety equipment. In addition, two of the employees were seen “throwing waste materials from the edge of the second floor so could easily have fallen if they had tripped over the rubble."(HSE)

According to RIDDOR, two-thirds of all injuries which kill workers everyday in the UK involve either a “fall from height”, being struck by a moving object or vehicle or being trapped by a collapsing structure. A Labour Force Survey 2011/2012 found that around 500,000 working days were lost by a fall from height as a self-reported, non-fatal injury in the workplace.

In the same period, HSE report that the construction industry sector recorded 2,230 major injuries received from all types of accidents and a 7 per cent increase in all non-fatal injuries, up from 7120 in 2010/11 to 7621 in 2011/12. Injury claims following accidents caused by inadequate safety measures on building sites or locations where refurbishments are taking place are still of urgent concern.

In response, this week saw the start of a four week long initiative of “unannounced visits” to building sites by Health & Safety Executive inspectors to “ensure that high-risk activity - such as working at height - were properly risk-assessed and managed to avoid preventable accidents.”

Although, there has been a reduction since 2008/09, when more than 4,650 major injuries and over 7,000 further injury categories were a result of a “fall from height”, they are one of the most frequent types of accident still being recorded (more than 20 per cent).