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Fall from Height Accidents at Work - A Step Too Far

5th December 2016

There are many causes of accidents in the workplace but one of the most common, and serious are those resulting from a fall from height.

Specific workplace regulations were introduced in 2005 with the aim of giving protection to all employees involved in operating working at height. The regulations introduced are all embracing and cover workers operating hundreds of feet off the ground to those using a step ladder to gain access to a shelf.

The use of ladders, regardless of size, shape or construction, are a frequently the cause of personal injury. In many In many fall from height accident cases the ladder in question is unsuitable for the purpose for which it is being used or insufficient training has not been provided in its use. In other cases the ladder has been poorly maintained or there is in some way defective.

There are also cases where the ladders have not been fitted with stabilizers, anti-slip feet, or anti-slip steps and/or proper hand grips. However, some of the causes are more to do with the operating model adopted by the employer having to use hand tools or carry tools and materials whilst using the ladder which means the worker cannot grip the ladder appropriately.

There are also examples of injuries caused by employees having to use hand tools or carry tools and materials whilst using the ladder which means the worker cannot grip the ladder appropriately.

All employers in England and Wales have a duty to protect their employees from accidents whilst they are working from height and or using ladders.

It may seem obvious to point out that the employer should avoid, wherever possible, from asking staff to work from heights in the first place. But assuming that is not possible, the first step is to ensure that risk assessments are carried out at the beginning and reassessed throughout the task, where appropriate.

If working at height is critical to the job then the employer must ensure that appropriate safety equipment (in good working order) is deployed which prevents a fall from height. In some cases the risk cannot be completely eliminated and the employer is under a duty to ensure that the distance of the fall is minimised to reduce the risk of serious injury. In respect of ladders, in some cases it may be more suitable, even at additional expense or delay in completing the job, to use platforms.

The employer must ensure that working practices are frequently reviewed also ensure that they are up to date and in keeping with HSE guidance and best practice. Training manuals must be regularly updated and available to all employees who should be encouraged to review them regularly.

In combination with the above it is imperative that all employers and employees appreciate the need for appropriate training, even in respect of the use of a simple ladder or footstool. More importantly, employees should ensure that they report hazards and or defective equipment as soon as possible and that they follow all policies / procedures and workplace guidance.

At Co-op Legal Services our Personal Injury Solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with your workplace injury claims and specifically fall from height accidents whether from a ladder, platform, footstool or a chair.

With a No Win No Fee agreement from Co-op Legal Services, there is no financial risk to you, win or lose.

For free legal advice about a work accident injury call our Personal Injury Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will help you.

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