Falls From Height – Single Biggest Cause of Fatal Injuries

In a previous article “Falls From Height – HSE Statistics Published” we talked about the fact that despite the HSE’s annual stats showing that there has been a downward trend in the number of falls from height, falls from height still remain the single biggest cause of fatal injuries in the workplace. In addition to fatalities falls from height also accounted for 5,956 non-fatal injuries from April 2015 to March 2016.

It’s therefore not surprising but still very sad that a number of falls from height have been reported to the H&SE this month. Even before the month ends there have been 4 reported cases of injuries and fatalities due to a failure to manage risks, a lack of planning and  poorly trained staff.

London construction firm fined after workers injured

Leyland SDM (LSDM) Limited has been fined after four workers fell more than three and a half metres whilst carrying a ventilation unit.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company failed to manage the risks when working at height and carrying out the lifting operation. The company also failed to have the right level of trained personnel and supervision in place to carry out these tasks safely and effectively.

For further information on roof work please go to: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2017/london-construction-firm-fined-after-workers-injured/

London based firm fined after workers death

Bus company Go Ahead London has been sentenced after worker was killed when he fell from a ladder.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company did not implement and keep to their own procedures for managing contractors. As a result they failed to manage their contractors effectively and ensure that they conduct work in a safe manner.

For further information on roof work please go to: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2017/london-based-firm-fined-after-workers-death/

Employer prosecuted after employee falls from roof

A self-employed businessman has been prosecuted after his employee fell from the flat roof of a building and died from his injuries.

A joint investigation carried out by Greater Manchester Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work was not properly planned in order to ensure it could be carried out safely. As a result, there were no measures in place, such as scaffold edge protection, to prevent falls from the edges of the roof.

For further information on roof work please go to: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2017/employer-prosecuted-after-employee-falls-from-roof/

Building contractor jailed after worker’s fatal fall

A Manchester building contractor has been jailed following the death of a casual labourer who fell nearly seven metres through a fragile roof.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both workers were not qualified to carry out work at height. They had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering. No safety precautions were in place to protect the two men from the danger of falling through the fragile roof.

For further information on roof work please go to: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2017/building-contractor-fined-after-workers-fatal-fall/

Falls From Height – Planning to Prevent

For all work it’s important to carry out a risk assessment. This will enable you to plan for work in a way that will minimise the risks. In a previous article on working from height we also listed some simple dos and don’ts, but its worth repeating them again:


  • minimise work at height by doing as much of the work as possible from the ground
  • train workers in working at height to ensure they understand the risks and how to work safely at height
  • ensure the right equipment is used and that is is checked and maintained regularly
  • take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces (on average 7 people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light – many others suffer permanent disabling injury)
  • provide protection from falling objects (on scaffolds this can be achieved by this using toe-boards, brick guards and netting or fans and/or covered walkways)
  • consider and plan how you will evacuate workers if there are any problems


  • allow anyone without the appropriate training and skills to work at height
  • take risks by thinking if the task is small you can get away without using the appropriate equipment
  • use ladders incorrectly – many falls from ladders are as a result of overreaching, overloading, not maintaining three points of contact, poor positioning of the ladder and not securing the ladder properly
  • rest a ladder against weak surfaces e.g. glazing or plastic gutters
  • use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks, only use them for light work of short duration (a maximum of 30 minutes at a time)

You should also read the H&SE publication on Working at height – A brief guide. The guide describes what you, as an employer, need to do to protect your employees from falls from height. Following this guidance is normally enough to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). The purpose of WAHR is to prevent death and injury from a fall from height.

You should also review the  Work at height – Occupational Health and Safety page which shows what you, as an employer, need to do to protect your employees when they work at height and lists industry specific information, FAQs,  a Work at height Access and Information Toolkit plus a resource on Safe use of ladders and stepladders.

The Work at Height Toolkit covers basic guidance and information to help you decide what type of access equipment may be suitable for the planned work at height depending on a variety of factors. The WAIT tool is not intended to cover all types of access equipment tool and only covers some of the most common types of access equipment. It will generate an outcome on the basis of a variety of factors and list the various equipment that it recognises.Using the WAIT tool is not compulsory, but the guidance it produces is intended to give you practical advice on how to comply with the law.

For more information on the services provided by New Broom Training please call us on 01795 500816 or email info@newbroomtraining.co.uk.