There is no doubt that working at height is dangerous, but it can be done safely. There are health and safety regulations that are tailored to deal with the challenges of employers handling their employees who have to work at height. But sadly, many employees are still killed or seriously injured every year when working at height.
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) accident statistics for 2014/2015 show that nearly three in every ten fatal accidents at work in caused by a fall from height and more than half of all serious injuries at work were caused by slips, trips and falls.
These statistics throw up some other facts about fall from height fatalities. Half of these fatalities took place in the construction industry and almost half of them involved workers over the age of 55, but this age group only makes up about 20% of the work force.
So what do the regulations say and what can you do if you or someone you love is injured or killed in a fall from height?
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 are there to help employers make working at height safer. Your employer must make sure that you have the correct training, equipment and that there is effective planning and supervision in place.
But you, as an employee, take care of yourself and those around you too. You must work with your employer to make sure that you comply with their risk assessments, policies and procedures so you protect yourself as much as possible.
Working at height does not just involve being on a roof or scaffold, but also means working safely on ladders and step ladders too. Whilst you may not think that a step ladder is that high, serious injuries can and do happen. There are many health and safety myths that have sprung up around ladders and working at height, but both you and your employer can find help and guidance on working at heights on the HSE website.
If you are injured whilst working at height, you could claim compensation. Often falls from height cause serious injuries or even death. We’ll look later at how to claim for a fatal fall from height accident, but first we’ll look at compensation for your injuries.
Serious injuries can happen even from a fall of less than two metres. These can be injuries to the head or neck and result in long term, permanent damage.
Claims where you have fallen from height and been injured do have a time limit. You have 3 years from the date of your accident to make a claim, but the sooner you start your claim, the sooner you can expect your settlement or an interim payment. Having a serious accident which means you can’t work can mean that your family struggles financially so making an early claim will help.
You should speak with one of our Personal Injury Solicitors that specialises in fall from height work accident claims who can help you to get the best settlement possible for your injuries. All of our Work Accident Solicitors know and understand the law and can fight your corner for you against the insurance company, who will want to settle the claim for the smallest amount possible.
A specialist Work Accident Solicitor will be able to arrange for a medical specialist to review your injuries and provide a report about how well you will recover from these injuries, whether there will be any lasting problems and whether your old job is still suitable.
Once the medical report has been completed, your Work Accident Solicitor can start negotiations with your employer’s workplace liability insurance company about the value of your claim for compensation. If the insurance company accepts fault, you could get an Interim Payment to help tide you over. This is particularly important if you’re not working because of your injuries.
You shouldn’t worry about claiming compensation from your employer either. Your employer is not allowed to treat you any differently as a result of making a fall from height claim and your job cannot be at risk. If your employer does treat you differently or you lose your job as a result of your accident, you may have an additional claim against your employer for unfair dismissal.
If someone you love has died as a result of a fall from height at work, you also have the opportunity to make a claim for compensation. Making a claim is probably the last thing on your mind at this emotional and upsetting time, so you have three years from the date your loved one died to make a claim. This means you can do this in your own time and when it feels right.
If it was your spouse who died in the accident, you can claim for their death, funeral expenses but also for their lost earnings, bonus and pensions, amongst others. Whilst talking about money and compensation can feel like you are putting a value on your loss, nothing with compensate you for your loss, but financial compensation can help you and your family to start to rebuild your lives.
For more information about fatal work accidents, you can read our article which looks at the law and the compensation which can be claimed for.
If you or a member of your family has suffered a personal injury in a fall from height accident at work, our Personal Injury Solicitors can help starting with free legal advice, and a free assessment of your claim.
With a No Win No Fee Agreement from Co-op Legal Services all your legal fees are covered, win or lose.
For free legal advice about a working at height injury claim call our Personal Injury Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will help you.