Work at Height is the most common injury at work in Great Britain
Working at height can be one of the most thrilling experiences but can also be one of the one of the dangerous. Recent research by the Health and Safety Executive shows that the main cause of fatal injuries in Great Britain was falls from a height. Fatal injuries are luckily rare events however there are many contributing factors for reasons why falls occurred.
The number of fatal injuries in 2017/2018 went up to around 144, and this remains one of the most common reasons for injury at work.
Fatal injuries to workers by main industry
Main kinds of fatal accident for workers
“Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.”
Overall the number it has reduced since 2007 but still a major issue for injury and fatalities in the workplace. So how do you stay safe at height?
- Complete as much of the task from ground level
- If the task must be completed at height, ensure you have the correct fall protection equipment required for the job
- Ensure you have the right training and feel competent completing the task safely
- Check the equipment is fit for use and has an up to date inspection
Having the correct equipment comes with a lot of options, these are dependent on the area at height that you are accessing and the task you are completing. A risk assessment should be completed prior to you accessing the area.
As part of the hierarchy of control, the first measure that should be followed is to eliminate the risk. This means that If possible, complete the task at floor level or redesign the job so that the hazard is removed. When this is not possible, the next best option is to work inside a safe area that has collection protection around it to ensure that the hazard is not in an accessible area.
The final measure that should be taken to reduce risk and prevent accidents is to use work equipment such as fall protection systems and PPE. When using this type of equipment, there are 2 different ways to work. These are fall arrest or fall restraint. Both these options reduce the risk by putting measures in place to limit or restrict a fall.
Fall restraint, physically restrains you from reaching the hazard.
Fall arrest, ensures that there is the freedom of movement for you. Should a fall occur the system will arrest the fall to minimise injury.
By putting measures in place, you can ensure that you are limiting the risk of an accident occurring and will reduce the number of injuries and fatalities when working at height.