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Working at height incidents increasing

13 July 2018

Additional concern has been expressed over working at height safety, after a 13% rise in incidents was recorded in the first half of this year.

Working at height has long been identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other organisations as one of the major cause of workplace accidents, so the latest figures are of particular concern.

The figures were announced by the Building Safety Group (BSG) based on 10,000 site inspections during the first six months of 2018.

It compared the results with the first two quarters and comparison of further data also revealed that there had been a rise in the number of deaths resulting from working at height incidents.

HSE compared the figures from the 2017/18 with the previous 12 month period, showing there had been a 40% rise in fatal injuries, with a total of 35 in the latest year.

Falling through fragile surfaces accounted for the highest number of working at height incidents, including fibre-cement roofs and roof lights in particular.

The next main cause of fatal injuries was being struck by a moving vehicle, according to the HSE, which had seen a total of 26 fatal injuries in the most recent 12-month study.

Third highest was being struck by a moving object, resulting in 23 fatal injuries over 2017/18.

Further emphasis on working at height issues resulted from the news that Kier Facilities Services and subcontractor JHH Engineering had been fined after one of the latter's employees fell from a roof of Downsell Primary School in East London.

The worker survived but has been left with severe cognitive effects resulting from injuries sustained.

Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974 during the recent case at Southwark Crown Court.

JHH Engineering of New Lanark received a fine of £30,000 with costs of nearly £6,000.

Kier Facilities Services, of Sandy, Bedfordshire, was fined £200,000, with costs of just over £5,900.


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