Trends in Falls From Height in the Workplace

 Jun 17, 2014

A number of new case reports have been revealed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that highlight an alarming trend of falls from height in workplaces in recent weeks.

As of last week, out of the eight cases appearing in the HSE press release section for June 2014, seven of them were related to falls from height, with one resulting in death.

Falls from height are still the biggest cause of workplace casualties in the UK. In 2012/13, there was a total of 46 fatal injuries sustained from falls from height, and 2,522 major injuries. As such, comprehensive investigations of working environments and conditions are requisite in order to ensure the safety of all employees.

What recent cases bring to light, however, is an increasing laxity with which employers are treating vital health and safety requirements of hazardous workplaces, particularly in the manufacturing and construction industries.

There has been an increased rate of STFs (Slips, Trips and Falls) - something that previous reports have observed to be annually consistent. The HSE has pinpointed a seasonal increase in falls from height during spring and summer, when more outdoor labour is carried out nationwide.

Negligence extends beyond the conventional professional relationship. Third parties have been found liable in recent cases where materials in trade and installations have been made under false pretences, including one director in Shropshire who was convicted for twelve months for the sale of pre-used roofing sheets containing white asbestos. The director's failure to ensure the quality of the products he was trading caused the death of a worker in Frankley, Worcestershire.

Another case involved an anonymous 63-year-old male who fell through some cement sheeting while attempting to repair a leak. The serious injury incurred left the worker needing speech therapy and weekly physiotherapy, even after his extensive stay in a hospital to repair the immediate damage.

Worryingly, the frequency of employer negligence cases in these more hazardous sectors appears to be on the rise. The HSE's findings show that though the average number of cases per annum between 2007 and 2012 is 60, there were 97 cases over 2012/13. Accounting for this spike is speculative, but a greater awareness of employee rights may be inferred judging by the rising level of prosecutions in parallel to the less drastic increase in injuries.

The good news is that this indicates a seismic shift in the employee-employer relationship. We believe that all employees should know their rights, both professional and civil, and that violations of those rights by negligent employers - especially in settings where this negligence can sometimes prove fatal - should not go unaccounted for.

If you've been involved in a fall from height at work, or any other work-related injury, please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss making a compensation claim.

At Carrs Solicitors, you will always have a senior solicitor who will personally handle every aspect of your personal injury claim and who will always be available to answer your questions. We are ready to listen and to offer free impartial advice in strict confidence.

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