17th December 2013
Between 2011 and 2012, around 500,000 working days were lost by a fall from height as a self-reported, non-fatal injury in the workplace (Labour Force Survey). 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 (RIDDOR).
Since the Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into force on 6 April 2005, duties have been placed on 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.” Yet falling from height continues to be frequently reported, accompanying accident claims and accident compensation.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), between 2008 and 2009, falling from height was responsible for nearly 12,000 major and minor accident injuries.
Just this week a roofer from Merseyside was prosecuted for breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and fined a total of £4,668 including costs for putting lives at risk when carrying out “work at height” with inadequate safety precautions.
Following a Health and Safety Executive investigation, it was found that while scaffolding was present at the front of the house where a roof was being retiled by the roofer and his two employees, there were no measures in place (such as hand rails or toe boards) to safeguard against falling to the ground below either at the side or the back of the property.
According to the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Duty holders must “use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height” and where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, “use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.”
In addition, the Regulations include schedules, which state the requirements for existing places of work and means of access for work at height, collective fall prevention (e.g. guardrails and working platforms), collective fall arrest (e.g. nets, airbags etc), personal fall protection (e.g. work restraints, fall arrest and rope access) and ladders.
Click here to find out more about the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at the HSE website.