The Building Safety Group (BSG), has reported a 13% rise in the number of Work at Height safety breaches recorded on construction sites. The increase is based on 10,000 site inspections conducted during the first 6 months of 2018, comparing Q1 with Q2.
BSG’s figure is also a reflection of the increase in fatalities resulting from workers falling from height. Statistics published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show there were 35 falls from height related deaths in 2017/18, up 40% compared to the previous year.
Falls through fragile surfaces, particularly fibre-cement roofs and roof lights account for the majority of fall from height fatal injuries in the construction industry. Workers undertaking roof work and building maintenance can die or suffer life-changing injuries leaving them permanently disabled when they fall through fragile surfaces or unprotected edges such as exposed rooflight openings.
Paul Kimpton, Managing Director at the Building Safety Group, commented: “Employers have a legal duty to ensure that the ‘Work at Height Regulations 2005’ [and Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015] are implemented and that all activity is properly supervised and carried out by people who are competent. They are also responsible for ensuring that fall protection systems for work at height are regularly inspected, particularly when working in hazardous environments.”
Paul added: “Critically, falls from height are still one of the most common causes of injuries to employees, accounting for a large number of work-place deaths. So, employers must of course take their responsibilities very seriously, not least because of the potential harm to workers, but also because of the risk to the business as well as the number of working days lost.”