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The HSE announces a fall in working at height fatalities

31 July 2020

Last week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its 'Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2020' annual statistics.

Headline figures from the report are:
- 111 workers were killed in 2019/20 RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) – this is down from 147 in 2018/19
- The construction sector still accounts for the largest number of fatalities at 40 (up from 30)
- Falls from height remain the main cause of fatal accident with 29 workers killed in 2019/20 (down from 40)

Over three-quarters of fatal injuries in both 2019/20 and the combined five-year period 2015/16-2019/20 were accounted for by just five different accident kinds.

Falls from a height, being struck by a moving vehicle and being struck by a moving, including flying or falling, object continue as the three main causes of fatal injury, between them accounting for over half of all fatal injuries each year since at least 2001/02.

FASET welcomes the overall reduction in workplace fatalities, and in particular the reduction in falls from height fatalities, which is obviously hugely positive news.

However, there is more work to be done and it is disappointing that falls from height remain the main cause of fatal accidents in the workplace.

FASET (Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training) is the established trade association and training body for the safety net rigging and temporary safety systems industry.

The aim of the organisation is to eliminate fatalities within this industry sector through dedicated training, and the sharing of expert quality guidance.

Input from the Ladder Association

The Ladder Association commented on the announcement from the HSE, saying that the statistics “spur us on to keep promoting height safety. Our ambition is to see everyone who works at height going home safely at the end of the working day.

"The HSE's latest report, while highlighting both a reduction in overall workplace fatalities (111 workers killed in 2019/20, down from 147 in 2018/19) and a reduction in the number of fatal falls from height, makes for sombre reading and reminds us that there's still progress to be made.” (

The Ladder Association went on to say that training makes an important contribution in keeping people safe when working at height and that training is about more than just using the ladder; it's about understanding when it's right to use a ladder (and importantly when it's not), choosing the right ladder and then understanding the simple steps to take to use the ladder safely.

This philosophy is very much in step with FASET’s approach to safety: industry operatives must have access to the very latest training and guidance and they must be continually reminded of its benefits.

Every FASET Member undergoes a rigorous application process which examines their business activities in great detail. If successful, the member will continue to undergo annual SSiP recognized audits to ensure quality and commitment to safety and best standards are maintained.

Therefore, those companies that choose FASET members for their projects enjoy invaluable peace of mind.

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