A couple of weeks ago we shared the sad news that 142 workers have died doing their job during the past year.
Yet again, the highest cause of deaths continues to be workers falling from height which claimed the lives of 35 workers.
So far this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted nearly 30 organisations, including construction firms, roofers, plasterers, maintenance companies, utilities companies, chemical companies, schools, garages, care homes and food companies, for incidents involving falls.
Altogether the firms have been fined more than £1.5million and ordered to pay nearly £220,000 in costs. The highest individual fine was for more than £500,000 – in general most fines tend to be at least in the tens of thousands of pounds. There have also been several cases this year where company directors have been given suspended prison sentences and ordered to carry out hundreds of hours of unpaid work.
When you look at the suffering behind these incidents it is easy to understand why such punishments have been doled out to firms.
In four of the court cases heard so far this year someone died and in many of the others people suffered life-changing physical injuries such as broken backs, broken necks, brain trauma, broken vertebrae and ribs, fractured skulls, facial damage, punctured lungs and nerve damage. A number of victims also suffered memory loss, depression and PTSD.
Three of the biggest causes were people falling through fragile roofs and skylights or from unsecured scaffolding or ladders but there were also instances of people falling from mezzanine floors, falling over retaining walls and in one case a worker was injured after they fell through a hole on the first floor of a property that was being refurbished.
When you read the sad details of these cases the message from the HSE inspectors is pretty much the same every time – they say that falls from heights remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well-known.
They add that companies should be aware that unsafe work at height without suitable and sufficient controls in place is not acceptable and that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.
We know that the vast majority of company owners and managers care about their workforce and the last thing they want to see is anyone getting hurt. However, we also appreciate that when people are busy with their day-to-day jobs it can be a challenge for them to get to grips with health and safety requirements too.
We hope this blog will really bring home to bosses how crippling health and safety breaches can be for both workers and businesses but we also want to let you know that you’re not alone.
Our experienced team of health and safety consultants can work closely with your business to identify risks in your workplace, provide advice on how they can be controlled and ensure you successfully meet the required standards.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that we are always here for you when it comes to meeting your legal obligations as an employer, with regard to health and safety matters.
If you’re not sure where to begin we even offer a free Health and Safety Review Surgery with our leading Health and Safety expert John Crockett.
During the free 30-minute video call you will get the chance to discuss and diagnose any current health and safety compliance issues. John will take you through our 20-point Health and Safety Compliance Audit which will form the basis of a complimentary compliance report which will highlight areas where you’re managing health and safety successfully and any where your business may be at risk.
Our main concern is that businesses get the health and safety help they need. Together we can prevent more workers from coming to harm, save more lives and protect firms from crippling fines.