One In Five Workplace Accidents Are Caused By Working At Height

one in five workplace accidents are caused by working at height feature image

Posted on 16th Jun, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham

New statistics from the Building Safety group have highlighted the importance of proper training for working at height. According to the report, height safety failure was by far the most commonly reported safety breach, with as many as one in five accidents being directly attributed to it. So how can employers help to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees against these kinds of accidents?

What Does The Report Say?

report data

Regulators from the Building Safety Group made almost 25,000 site visits over the course of 2016, and of those visits, 24,634 of them featured notable non-compliances with safety standards. Nearly 5000 (20%) of these breaches fell under the ‘working at height’ category, which means employees were at a significant distance from the ground when carrying out their work, putting them severely at risk.

The second biggest threat to employee wellbeing came in at around the 5% mark, with around 1000 incidents recorded, making working at height by far and away the most notable threat to physical health.

Are Our Workplaces Getting Safer?

painter working on ladder

These figures reflect those put forward by the Health and Safety Executive: according to their report, 97 construction workers have died since in the last five years, making up 45% of fatal injuries on-site.

Not only does falling from height remain the single largest cause of workplace fatalities, but it also accounts for the highest number of non-fatal accidents too. In the same five years since 2012, 33% of non-fatal injuries have been some manner of falling from height. Of these incidents, a third (11% of the total) were serious enough to warrant longer than a full week off work.

It is worth saying that on the whole, the overall workplace fatality rate is dropping over time, as employers and managers work to implement more stringent safety measures. Nevertheless, the significant proportions of injuries and deaths linked to falling from height are still high enough to indicate that it remains a serious problem, underlining the need for employers to maintain their efforts in tackling it.

What You Can Do To Guarantee Workplace Safety

 inspecting step ladder before use

The report was published with a number of suggestions for improving safety in the workplace, but we at Browns Safety have taken the liberty of amending their list with a few of our own suggestions too – as an extra couple of concrete safeguards against the wellbeing of employees.

  • Complete as much work as possible from the ground, ensuring safe access and egress around the work area

This helps avoid any unnecessary risks, and keeps the workspace (and the ladders) clear of any obstacles or personnel which could inadvertently cause an accident.

  • Choose your equipment carefully

In short, this is another mantra we’re fond of repeating here at Browns – when working at height, always make sure you have the right equipment and ladder for the job. An ill-suited ladder can be just as dangerous as a poorly-built one. For example, if you climb too high on a ladder which is evidently not tall enough for the job, it can easily cause you to overbalance, potentially causing injury. Always ensure your ladder is designed for the job it’s supposed to do.

  • Make sure your ladder isn’t damaged

Before you use your ladder, always carry out pre-use checks to make sure it’s not bent, broken or worn. A damaged ladder can easily collapse underneath you, potentially leading to a fatal fall.

  • Make sure your ladder or scaffolding is stable

This is a vital check to perform before you even place a foot on the rungs – the feet of your ladder shouldn’t slip against the floor. If it’s a stepladder the spreaders or chains should be extended to prevent splaying, and whatever you’re using it should always be secure against the surface you’re leaning it against.

At Browns, your safety is our priority. Every single one of our products conforms to the EN 131 standard; a solid, official testament to their safety and integrity. We run a number of access equipment training courses, as well as performing expert ladder inspections so that you can be fully confident your ladders are up to scratch. To make a booking, get in touch by giving us a call on 01282 615517.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @brownssafety

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