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A small fall but a big tumble from grace.

Firstly, just a little reminder (or advice if your were not already aware), if you can fall when you are working, it is regarded as working at height. It does not matter if it is 6 inches, 6 feet or 600 feet. You must take suitable action to mitigate the risk.

In the UK a company was recently prosecuted for not taking sufficient action to safeguard a worker from harm. The worker was working on a staircase and the safety rails had been taken out to facilitate the work. The company undertaking the work failed to put any temporary measures into place to prevent falls. 

The incident occurred when one of the workers fell over the side of the staircase from a height of only 1 metre. His injuries though were quite serious and kept him from working for a period of three months.

The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in court costs. Personal legal costs to defend the case are not mentioned.

This injury and associated trauma was wholly preventable.  Damage to the reputation of the company will no doubt be substantial - who wants to engage a company with a criminal conviction for failing to ensure the safety of their workers? And it is reasonable to presume that insurance costs to the company will now be increased.

Was it worth taking a shortcut in systems and financial outlay to prevent it happening? Might a working at height risk assessment for the job have prevented this? I think that the answers to both questions are very obvious.

The Working at Height Regulations apply to any place of work, whether it is a basement office or cleaning the windows of a tower block. 

Additional Information

Learn more information about our 'working at height training' course here, or alternatively click here for our full range of health and safety training courses

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