Falls from height at work lead to increased risk of serious injuries
Falls from height is the second most common cause of catastrophic or fatal injuries after road accidents.
If a ladder is to be used in the workplace, for any reason, even if it is getting the Christmas decorations out once a year, then a risk assessment and training are needed.
Falls from height is the second most common cause of catastrophic or fatal injuries after road accidents. A fall from a height of over 2 feet carries major risk of a serious injury. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics showed that in 2012/2013, 46 workers were killed and nearly 2,600 seriously injured due to a fall from height at work.
The law on workplace claims changed on 1st October 2013 when the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act came into force. It used to be the case that if an employer breached a health and safety law – such as The Working at Height Regulations 2005, or the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (which applies to ladders) and this caused an injury to someone at work, then a civil claim for compensation could be founded on the breach of regulations. This often included strict liability being imposed on the employer for a breach of regulation. This protection for workers has been removed, and all personal injury claimants now have to prove that the employer was negligent. For an injured worker to prove negligence, an employer must have breached their duty of care to the worker. However, the standard of care that the courts will expect to protect a worker from a fall from height is likely to be high, because of the significant risk of serious injury, so these regulations should still cover falls from height.
Many very serious injuries occur by falling through a fragile surface rather than off a high place. The Health and Safety Executive take these occurrences very seriously. A company was fined over £10,000 at Ormskirk Magistrates Court in July 2013 after a Merseyside man cleaning leaves from guttering between 2 buildings was told by the occupiers to try and avoid stepping on the roof lights, but when the workman carried sacks of leaves across the roof he did just that, and fell through a roof light to the offices below. The HSE prosecuted and said that safety measures such as using a cherry picker or a harness should have been used.
Falls involving ladders account for about a quarter of all falls. If a ladder is to be used in the workplace, for any reason, even if it is getting the Christmas decorations out once a year, then a risk assessment and training are needed. Ladders with dirty and slippery treads, or defective feet or locking mechanisms can also be the cause of falls.
The nature of working at height means that if you have an accident, it is likely to have serious consequence. Freeclaim Solicitors have expert serious injury solicitors who have experience dealing with serious work accidents, including falls from height. They can help get you an interim payment to start rehabilitation after your accident, whilst they secure the full settlement of your claim. Call their free 24 hour work accident helpline on 0800 612 7340 or make a claim online at www.freeclaim.co.uk
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