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Fall from height: Life changing injuries “wholly avoidable”

Avoidable accidents are still occurring in the workplace as a result of companies failing to properly plan and ensure that appropriate equipment is being used when working at height – as highlighted by a recent prosecution at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

Two companies have been prosecuted following an incident during which a worker suffered life changing injuries after falling 9.7m through a roof light whilst working as a sheet cladder at a factory in West Yorkshire. His injuries resulted in surgical operations to insert six pins into his pelvis, together with two further pins at the top of his femur and two at the bottom

The principal contractor and cladding installer pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £145,000 with £5,046.30 costs and £165,000 with £5114.49 costs respectively.

Following the hearing HSE Inspector Paul Thompson commented “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year. This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the principal contractor to manage and monitor the works to ensure the correct work equipment was being used. The risk was further amplified by the cladding company’s failure to ensure suitable measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”  

For the No Falls Foundation, Hannah Williams commented “This incident emphasises the need for companies to ensure that working at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out by a competent person. This fall could have been totally avoided had this been the case.”

Falls from height are still the leading cause of death in the workplace and result in an additional estimated 118 injuries every day.

The No Falls Foundation is the UK’s first and only charity devoted exclusively to the working at height sector. It is dedicated to preventing falls from height and helping people effected by the life-changing consequences of a fall. It has three main objectives: Preventing falls; researching the causes of falls and providing support.

Copyright 2020 No Falls Foundation l All rights reserved l Registered Charity Number 1177494