When Working At Height Failings Lead To Accident At Work Compensation Claims
One of the most common causes of workplace injury is falls from height, and this factor is seen in thousands of accident at work compensation claims. Working at height is inherently dangerous, posing serious hazards to employees, and businesses are therefore obliged to do all they can to eliminate the risks involved in this task.
Nonetheless, employers still regularly fail to protect their staff when they’re working at height and therefore fail in their duty of care towards their employees. This leaves them liable to accident at work compensation claims and even prosecution.
Falls from height and workplace accident claims
Recently, vending machine supplier Paragon International Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court after one of its employees fell through a roof light while at work. An investigation revealed the company had failed to ensure the member of staff was safe while working on the roof.
The unnamed victim, a 40-year-old man, escaped with minor injuries in the workplace accident, although they were lucky to have avoided death or serious injury. However, he still sustained hand and back injuries, as well as bruising to his leg and body.
He had been told to clean guttering at the firm’s Paddock Road premises in West Pimbo, Skelmersdale, and had been advised to stay clear of any roof lights. However, the company made no practical steps to protect the employee, and had not properly considered whether the work could have been done in a safer manner. It had not provided safety netting, harnesses, cherry pickers, edging or controlled for risks effectively.
The worker accidentally walked on one of the roof lights and fell around six metres, landing on the floor of the accounts office. He was fortunate to have not stepped on one of the other roof lights, as if the accident had occurred further along the roof, the victim would have landed on a concrete floor.
As a result, the company was fined £10,500 with prosecution costs of £3,067 after admitting breaching health and safety regulations. The victim may also be able to make an accident at work compensation claim, as the company appears to have acted in a negligent way and failed in its duty of care towards its workforce.
Complying with health and safety regulations when employees work at height
The main act dealing with working at height is the Work at Height Regulations 2012. These regulations apply to any task at height in which a fall could potentially cause a personal injury, and apply to employers, people who control other people’s work and self-employed individuals.
These duty-holders must ensure that any task that involves working at height is organised and planned properly, and that the workers completing these jobs are competent and know how to complete them safely.
Competency is not just important for the person who risks a personal injury by working at height – in order to protect themselves from accident at work compensation claims, businesses must also ensure that anyone else involved in the task is competent. This means that if netting is used to protect workers, the net riggers should be properly trained in how to erect nets safely.
Furthermore, the risks working at height poses should be assessed and any equipment that can minimise or eradicate these risks should be used. All this safety equipment should be maintained and inspected regularly. These regulations also apply when people work on fragile surfaces, such as roofs.
When possible, work from height should be avoided – for instance, if part of the job can be completed at ground level then this should be done. Any equipment that can prevent falls from height should be used, as well as any devices that can reduce the distance of a fall or the severity of its consequences. This could include safety netting and crash mats.
Make an accident at work compensation claim following a fall from height
If you have suffered a personal injury in a fall from height at work, you may be able to make an accident at work compensation claim. Solicitors will have to demonstrate that the accident was the result of your employer’s negligence – for instance, if they failed to adhere to health and safety regulations, this indicates that they behaved in a negligent fashion.
The overall value of your claim may be reduced if you are deemed partially responsible for the accident, for instance if your employer provided you with personal protective equipment but you failed to use it.
Personal injury solicitors can help you succeed in your claim. Contact them today to get started!
Kevin Browne cares deeply about health and safety in the workplace and other worker rights issues, after first joining a trade union at the age of 16. He lives in Norfolk with two daughters and three dogs, and he likes reading the newspaper on the veranda and taking walks on the beach during the brief British summertime.