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Working at height safety breaches rise 13%

13 July 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

The number of safety breaches recorded on construction sites involving working at height has increased by 13% over the first half of 2018.

That's according to consultant Building Safety Group (BSG), which has studied statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive.

The increase is based on 10,000 site inspections conducted during the first six months of 2018, comparing Q1 with Q2.

There was also a steep increase in fatalities resulting from workers falling from height during 2017/18, with figures showing there were 35 ‘falling from height’ related deaths, 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, BSG highlighted.

The news came as four construction firms were fined for breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 or cases relating to a fall from height this week, in three separate cases.

Paul Kimpton, managing director at the Building Safety Group, said: “Employers have a legal duty to ensure that the ‘Work at Height Regulations 2005’ 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 Working at Height are regularly inspected, particularly when working in hazardous environments.”

He 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.”

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