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FallingTuesday 14 May 2019

Falling from a height is the most common cause of fatal accidents at work.

According to the latest statistics from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the most common cause of fatal workplace accidents are falls from a height. In fact, almost half of the fatal injuries to workers over the last five years were attributable to just two accident categories – falls from a height (26%) and being struck by a moving vehicle (18%).

Perhaps not surprisingly given the preponderance of scaffolding, gantries, ladders and raised platforms, half of all fall from height deaths were in the construction industry, with an average of 19 fatal accidents per year. Falls from heights are also the cause of 20% of accidents in the food and drink industries, notably falls from ladders and falls from vehicles.

In many cases where a person falls from height, safe access has not been provided. All operations requiring work at height require risk assessment and proper management of risks. If you suffer a fall at work and the proper risk assessment has not been carried out, you could be entitled to claim compensation, which is where the expertise and experience of Oxford Accident Solicitors comes into play.

Where regular or frequent access to height is required, permanent safe access arrangements should be installed. For example, on plant or machinery, this might be steps and platform with handrails. When portable equipment is used for temporary access, it is important that it is not restricted to that which happens to be at hand. For example, hiring a scissor lift or cherry picker might improve safety.

Many falls from heights occur when workers slip (e.g. from the top of plant or off step rungs) and places where workers stand should be dry where possible and free from contamination. Strikingly, a third of reported fall accidents occur on stairs. This is often due to the stairs being contaminated with water or food product, or the use of inappropriate footwear.

It is also the responsibility of employers to make sure workers do not stand on forklift trucks or pallets mounted on forks to access heights as this is a regular cause of fatal injury.

The chances of surviving a fall from more than 30 feet are low, but even 6 feet can prove deadly when landing on the wrong body part or surface. Spinal, head, or neck injuries are a common result of falls, regardless of the height, and can leave the victim severely disabled or lead to death.

Your employer has a legal obligation to make sure you are safe at work. If you are the victim of a fall from height at work, or if one of your family or loved ones suffers a fatal accident involving a workplace fall, please contact Oxford Accident Solicitors on 01865 315309 for a FREE, no obligation consultation on how to make a claim for compensation.

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