The dangers of working at height are well documented, and help and advice is readily available to employers from organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on how these risks can be controlled and minimised.
Despite this, however, many workers are still sustaining life changing injuries as a result of a fall at work because employers are failing in their duty to provide a safe system of work for their staff.
Worker Receives Life Threatening Injuries
Just this month the HSE reported on a case were an employee of a welding and metal fabrication company suffered life threatening injuries after falling through a roof.
He had been attempting to carry out minor repairs to the roof of a timber storage shed when he fell eight metres through the fragile roof.
The 39-year-old suffered multiple injuries including a broken leg, elbow and ribs. He also punctured his lungs and had his spleen removed as a result of this incident.
When the HSE conducted its investigation into the incident, it found that no precautions had been taken to prevent workers from falling through or off the edge of the roof. It also found the company failed to properly plan the work at height and failed to implement a safe system of work.
The company appeared in court where it pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £5,368 costs.
Falls from Height are Preventable
“The injured employee in this case was very fortunate not to lose his life following this fall from height,” commented HSE inspector Jackie Worrall.
“Falls from height can be prevented by careful planning, using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment and employing a high level of supervision,” she said. “Deaths caused by falls through fragile surfaces occur mainly to those working in the building maintenance sector when carrying out small, short-term maintenance and cleaning jobs.”
“On average seven people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light,” she added. “Many others suffer permanent disabling injury.”
Worker Sustains Serious Back Injury
In a second recently reported case, a company from Stranraer has appeared in court after a fall at work led to a worker sustaining serious injuries
The worker in question had been sub-contracted by a groundwork company to carry out roof repairs on a farmyard barn. As he walked along the roof he stepped on a translucent light panel that broke under his weight and he fell through the roof to the ground seven metres below.
He suffered a compression fracture of the lower back as a result of this incident.
The HSE found that the company had failed to adequately supervise this work at height and relied on the experience of the workers to avoid injury while working at height. It had also failed to plan the work at height and therefore no control measures had been put in place to prevent workers falling from or through the roof.
The company was fined £12,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2015.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident at work and would like to find out more about claiming compensation, then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.