Fall From Height at Work Claims
Working at height can be dangerous, particularly if the correct health and safety regulations are not observed. A fall from height, even falling a relatively small distance, can cause serious injuries such as broken bones, head injuries and damage to internal organs. Falls from height at work are also one the most common causes of fatal workplace accidents in the UK.
Due to the significant risk of injury, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 was introduced to provide protection to employees by placing obligations on employers to implement and maintain a safe working at height policy.
An employer’s first obligation under the regulations is to avoid the need for workers to carry out work at height whenever possible. Although this may sound obvious, if a job can be performed from the ground, this naturally eliminates the risk of falling from height altogether. This could include using extendable tools from the ground level instead of using a ladder or platform.
There are of course many jobs where an employee will have no other option than to work from a height, whether this is using a stepladder, a ladder, working on scaffolding or using a cherry picker. In these cases, your employer has a duty of care to ensure that this work can be completed as safely as possible. This means that work should be properly planned, supervised, carried out by competent workers and performed using the correct and well-maintained equipment.
Suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be provided to help reduce the risk of accidents from occurring, and to minimise the impact of any subsequent personal injury from accidents that do happen. Depending on the type of work being performed, this could include safety helmets and harnesses.
Can I make a claim for a fall from height at work?
If you have been injured due to a fall from height while working, and you believe that your employer may have been at fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation. As with all work accident claims, it must be possible to demonstrate that your employer failed in their duty of care to provide you with a safe working environment and that your injuries were sustained as a result of this failure.
The details of your fall should be recorded in the company or site’s accident book as soon as possible after your accident. You should also ensure that you seek medical attention for your injuries, whether this means a trip to your local hospital or visiting your GP. This will mean that your injuries and the cause of them will be recorded in your medical records. Having a record of your fall in the accident book and your medical records can be used as vital evidence by your solicitor to build a successful claim against your employer for negligence.
If you intend to pursue a claim for injury compensation, it is important to keep in mind that there are strict time limits in place. From the date that you have your accident, you have a limit of three years within which to initiate your claim. If you fail to meet this deadline, you are unlikely to be able to proceed further, regardless of how bad your injuries may have been.
Common causes of falls from heights
There are many situations where a person may be injured in an accident while working at height. Although most commonly associated with working in construction, factories or warehouses, falls from height can occur in all types of work environments. Even working in a supermarket, office or school may require members of staff to do some tasks at height, even if only on rare occasions.
Here are some of the most common causes of accidents that can result in injury:
Falls from ladders
Accidents while working on ladders or stepladders are the most common cause of injuries sustained from falling. These type of accidents can easily occur when using a ladder that is too small for the job, which means the worker is forced to stretch and can lose their balance. Accidents can also be caused by using faulty ladders, using them on unstable ground or using them without sufficient training and supervision.
In some cases, using a ladder may simply be unsuitable for the task at hand. For example, an employee may be required to do labour intensive tasks while working on a ladder, where a scaffold tower would be a safer and more appropriate solution.
Other causes include lack of stabilisers at the base of the ladder or the failure of co-workers to foot the ladder in order to prevent the ladder from slipping away.
Falls from scaffolding
Scaffolding is often used to provide a safer alternative to ladders when working at height for long periods. But if scaffolding is not erected properly, not maintained in good condition, or not fitted with the correct safety barriers, they can be extremely dangerous. As well as the risk of a scaffold tower collapsing, a worker could also fall due to a missing safety bar or a damaged scaffold board.
Working on roofs
Working on roofs poses a significant risk of injury, and is amongst the most common causes of serious injuries and work-related deaths. As well as during construction, roof work may be required for cleaning or repairs. If a roof is fragile or damaged, it may not be able to hold the weight of a person, which can result in them falling through the roof and sustaining injury.
Most common injuries caused by falls
The range of injuries that can be sustained following a fall from height is extremely broad. The type and extent of the injury will often depend on various factors, such as the height of the fall, what the person has landed on and whether they were using or wearing any relevant personal protective equipment.
Some of the common types of injuries include:
- broken bones and fractures
- head injuries
- back and spinal cord injuries
- deep lacerations
- ruptured internal organs
As mentioned above, falls from height are also the cause of many fatal accidents in the workplace. If you have lost a family member as a result of an accident at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation against those responsible.
Making a workplace accident claim
If you have suffered personal injuries caused by a fall at work, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve on a No Win No Fee basis. At injuryclaims.co.uk, we have specialist solicitors available throughout the UK who have years of experience in handling all types of work accident claims, including those relating to falls from heights.
To find out if you have valid grounds to pursue a claim, contact us today for a free case assessment. This is an opportunity to discuss your accident with an experienced solicitor and to receive advice on the potential success of your claim.
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