Despite tighter regulation and wide-ranging health and safety campaigns to increase awareness, falling from height is still the most common cause of construction fatality in the United Kingdom.
Dozens of workers lose their life every year, whilst many more suffer serious injury in construction alone. In addition to the suffering and grief caused to families and loved ones this needless situation costs £millions in lost productivity, sick pay, and compensation.
What is most worrying is that current statistics reveal that whilst other serious industrial injuries are in decline, falls from height are actually on the increase with the construction industry being responsible for over half of all reported incidents.
It is true that major construction companies have taken on board the seriousness of working at height over the last few years, there remains a ‘rogue element’ who are still prepared to take unnecessary risks.
The current economic climate is not helping in this regard with companies and sole traders going to the wall and looking around to make cutbacks. Unfortunately, the health, safety and welfare of employees are sometimes compromised as a result. However, it is false to assume that savings can be made by cutting back on safety as can be seen from the recent number of court cases and prosecutions.
Thorough risk assessment and training is vital in ensuring that not only work is carried out to a high standard, but workers are protected from serious injury.
David Bates, Operations Manager of leading health and safety course provider BOSS Training Ltd, commented “It is really disappointing to note the latest figures in respect of injuries as a result from falling from height. The feeling in the industry is that the message was definitely getting through as to the seriousness of working at height. We have seen an increase in the number of delegates requiring work at height training across all industry sectors, so naturally assumed that the more people receiving good quality training would have the effect of reducing the number of accidents. The latest statistics just go to prove that you cannot afford to be complacent and training needs to be an ongoing development which is closely monitored.”
BOSS Training have a range of IPAF training courses available at short notice