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Construction site accidents: Falling from heights


Falling from heights is something that not only occurs in our dreams. Slips, trips and falls are a major source of workplace accidents with the HSE reporting in 2011 that over half (53%) are attributed to slips, trips and falls.

As many as 50 Britons die each year as a result of a fall. Falls from heights are the second most common cause of death from unintentional injuries after road traffic accidents. Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to the perils of a fall, especially a fall from a height.


Why is a fall from height worse than just a fall accident?

The severity and chances of injury increase with the height of a fall. Due to gravity, a free-falling object has a downward acceleration of 9.8 m/s/s meaning that the higher the fall, the faster you travel and therefore, hit the ground harder.


I work in construction, am I obligated to do anything?

As an employee or working under someone else’s control, the law states that you must inform your employer of any work situation you consider dangerous. Also of any shortcoming in their protection arrangements for health and safety and use all work items provided by your employer correctly, in accordance with your training and the instructions you received to use them safely. You can ensure safety in the workplace by taking basic precautions such as ensuring that all ladders are correctly secured and maintained. The HSE has developed the WAIT Toolkit to help reduce instances of falling from a height.


What is the WAIT Toolkit?

The WAIT toolkit provides you with information on some of the most basic access equipment. It can be found at the following link.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/wait/wait-tool.htm


What must my employer do to ensure that I do not fall from a height?

Legally, your employer is required to focus on minimising the risks in your workplace – the ones with the potential to cause harm. In many instances, a number of simple measures can help to control risks, for example, ensuring that all spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip.

If you have suffered an injury as the result of a fall from height then you may be entitled to compensation. A fall can result in many nasty injuries and Accident Advice Helpline is here to help.