The Biggest Killer in the UK Workplace

It may come as no surprise to learn that yet again falls from height continue to claim yet more lives in the workplace and unfortunately once again tops the list as being the UK’s biggest workplace killer.

The Health and Safety Executive report the morbid findings to serve as a warning to the construction industry as more prosecutions have taken place in relation to unsafe working practices when working at height.

Any work which involves leaving ground level needs meticulous planning and proper risk assessments carried out no matter what height you will be working from.

Just last week a main contractor and a concrete structures firm were prosecuted for failing to follow essential safety measures after a man fell 19 metres from a scaffold in 2008 and tragically died. The Heath and Safety Executive ruled that persistent and systematic failures to follow working at height regulations had resulted in the tragic accident. It was not the first time the company concerned had fallen foul of health and safety regulations – they had received repeated warnings from consultants to improve their health and safety measures. Employees described communication between senior employees and workers on site as virtually non-existent.

Unfortunately such accidents are showing no signs of abating despite the numerous warning issued by the health and safety executive. Scaffolding and scaffold towers are highly dangerous if they are not erected correctly.

Employees must undertake relevant training before attempting to assemble any scaffold on site. Furthermore, they must have the correct knowledge needed to select the correct working equipment to begin with.

A correctly assembled scaffold tower will be dangerous if it is not used in accordance with manufacturer guidelines and not designed for the work intended. Just last week a man appeared in court for failing to follow a prohibition order issued by a health and safety officer. The man was issued with the order for working from the top of an unsafe scaffold tower and was formally told to stop using it. The man was using the structure again just 3 hours after he was handed the prohibition order.

The tragedy is, many accidents could be so easily avoided. These accidents are the result of failure to follow essential safety guidelines and having little or no regard for the safety of employees or contractors.

Working from height always carries a risk and without careful thought and consideration given to how best to carry out the required job is inevitably going to lead to serious accidents.

Working from height is a serious business which carries huge risks – only practice ‘Good Practice’ and don’t take risks or chances.



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