Before you dig out the step ladder to put up the Christmas decorations, think carefully about doing so – as according to the HSE; up to 40% of falls from height accidents involve ladders. Falls from height are the highest cause of fatal injury in the food and drink industries and result in around 80 major injuries each year. These include accidents where limbs are broken and in some cases even skulls have been fractured. Falls can result in serious injury or death, even when the height fallen is only 2 metres or less.
Where falls take place
According to HSE figures gathered from 150 falls from height accidents within the last three years, the following places appear to be the most common:
- Ladders 40%
- Vehicles (including fork lift trucks) 17%
- Plant and Machinery 10%
- Platforms 10%
- Stairs 8%
- Roofs / false ceilings 7%
- Scaffolding 4%
- Warehouse Racking 4%
How to manage the risks
In a lot of cases where someone falls from height, it is due to safe access not being provided. A risk assessment can eliminate these dangers by identifying them before an accident takes place. In many cases the best way to avoid falls is to remove the need for employees to work at height. This can be done by making physical changes to the workplace or in many cases by reviewing operations so that working at height can be avoided. Where access is frequently required to height, permanent safe access arrangements should be installed; such as hand-rails or properly designed and built steps.
Falls caused by slipping can often be minimised by ensuring that good housekeeping is provided; making sure that any spills are cleaned up immediately, and ensuring that any debris or unnecessary items are removed from peoples’ path. This can reduce falls on both flat surfaces and also on stairs.
What to do if you have fallen at work?
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees, and that includes having safe working practices. If you have slipped, tripped or fallen from a height at work, and it was due to something out of your control, it is possible that you could claim for compensation from your employers. If it can be proved that they have failed in their duty to protect you from danger, we can help you get the pay out you deserve. Contact us today to see if we can help you claim.