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Last updated: 11.07.17

Height safety failings the ‘biggest danger’ for construction workers

Height safety failings the ‘biggest danger’ for construction workers

Of over 20,000 site inspections during 2016, height safety failure was found to be the most commonly identified breach by far, it has been reported.

According to the Building Safety Group, a total of 24,634 non-compliances were logged by safety advisors during last year, with working at height accounting for 19 per cent of all breaches recorded.

Behind this, the second highest prevalent site injury was the inhalation of dust or fumes, accounting for five per cent of non-compliances.

These figures coincide with those released by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), claiming that over the last five years, falling from height has killed 97 construction workers and amounted to 45 per cent of all fatal injuries on site.

While in the past couple of years there has been an overall drop in fatalities, falling from height remains the biggest single cause of accidents on construction sites. In addition to this, it is the most prominent cause of non-fatal accident related injury, responsible for 33 per cent of all non-fatal injuries. This includes 11 per cent of incidents resulting in an absence from work of more than seven days.

The Building Safety Group claims that fragile roof lights, scaffolding and ladders are the three main sources of falls from height injuries and fatalities.

Chris Chapman, Building Safety Group’s technical manager, said: “Working at height is clearly the most dangerous activity carried out in the construction sector. Everyone can do more to ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and conducted by qualified workers who have the required skills for the task in hand.

“To significantly reduce the dangers of working at height, construction companies should always try to complete as much work as possible from the ground, ensure safe access and egress and importantly, make certain that any equipment used is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job.”


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