CCRS HSE Guidance: Preventing Workplace Falls from a Height

Falls from height are among the most common causes of work-related injuries and fatalities in the UK.

In fact, according to the HSE, falls from height have been the leading cause of fatalities in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors over the last five years. Additionally, during the same time period, falls from height have been the second-leading cause of fatalities in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry.

Even outside of the aforementioned sectors, falling from height is a serious risk that must be properly managed.

There are a number of precautions that employers should take to reduce the risk of workers falling from height.

 

Minimise the Need
Arrange the workplace so that common tasks can be performed at ground level. Assess other methods that might be possible substitutions for performing tasks at height, such as the use of extendable tools.

 

Install Access Equipment

When regular or frequent entry to an elevated area is required, employers should install permanent access equipment, such as steps or platforms with handrails.

 

Keep the Workplace Clean

Many falls from height stem from a worker slipping or tripping. When employees work at height, clutter and wet surfaces become even more serious hazards. As such, proper housekeeping should be practiced.

 

Issue personal protective equipment

When employees work at height, personal fall-arrest systems that are anchored to a high point can make all the difference in keeping them safe. Ensure that this equipment is in good condition and that employees are trained on how to use it properly.

 

Use Ladders Properly

Ensure that ladders are appropriate for the task at hand by assessing them to make sure that they can bear the intended load and are not leaned against weak surfaces.

 

Minimise potential accidents

In the event that a fall from a height does occur, planning ahead can save lives. When employees work at height, consider installing safety nets and soft-landing systems, such as airbags.

 

Require proper attire

Employees should be instructed to wear non-slip footwear.

 

Below is an example of when things go wrong. Don’t let this happen to your workers. For more information on keeping workers safe while they work at a height, contact us today

 

Construction Firm Prosecuted after Employee Injured Falling from Roof
A construction company was prosecuted under Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and fined £120,000. An employee was injured as a result of falling through a fragile roof. An investigation found that no suitable risk assessment or method statement was carried out or produced. The workers involved lacked any specific training or knowledge of the hazards and safe working methods. It was found that the work was not carried out in a manner that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and their planning and supervision arrangements were not adequate.