Preventing Work at Height Accidents: Lessons Learned from Two Tragic Cases
Work at height is one of the most significant hazards in all industries, and it poses a considerable risk to workers' safety and wellbeing. Unfortunately, this hazard has once again been highlighted in two tragic cases where two individuals lost their lives due to falls from height.
In the first case, the boss of a roofing firm was sent to prison for 14 months for failing to put any measures in place to prevent falls from height. This lack of safety measures led to a 33-year-old man falling 16-feet into a concrete alley and suffering a fractured neck and other serious head injuries. Despite being taken to the hospital by air, he passed away a week later.
The second case involved a 71-year-old caretaker who was cleaning the roof of a bike shed when he fell approximately 2.5 meters from a ladder onto a tarmac surface, resulting in a fatal head injury. The Brighton Council was fined £66,666 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs after pleading guilty to offenses under the Work at Height Regulations.
It is not just the construction industry that is affected by work at height. All industries that operate at a height are at risk, including logistics, horticulture, and even catering establishments. While most employers take health and safety seriously, there will always be rogue elements that pay lip service to workers' safety, health, and wellbeing.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated that they will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against individuals or companies that fall below the required safety standards. Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their workers, and they must comply with the Work at Height Regulations to protect their workers from falls.
To prevent accidents and fatalities, it is essential to plan and implement safety measures when working at height. This planning will not only save money and time in the long run but also potentially stop people from being injured or killed through the course of their work.
In conclusion, work at height is a significant hazard that affects all industries, and employers must take the necessary steps to prevent falls and protect their workers' health and safety. Failure to comply with the Work at Height Regulations can result in severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and even business closure. The HSE provides guidance and advice on safe working practices and equipment, and it is essential to follow these to ensure workers' safety when working at height.