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Council Fined For Height Safety Failings

Posted: 06/09/2017

As an employer, your preparedness with an incident response plan won't be the only point you're judged on when a serious accident does occur, but also how and why the incident occurred and could it have been prevented in the first place. Did you provide the correct training, was adequate equipment and medical provision available for managing on-site incidents or undertaking a job that involves working at heights or in a confined space, for example?

It’s essential that both employers and employees fully understand that suitable and sufficient training and equipment is always provided for the job in hand. This will help to reduce any potential injuries or incidents. It’s unwise to assume that an employee will not attempt the job anyway, even if they don’t have the correct equipment or been provided with suitable training.

Last week, a local council based in Scotland was fined £10,000 for an incident which resulted in a worker seriously injured after a fall from a height. The worker was painting exterior windows when the fall occurred, injuring his left leg and hip, according to the BBC.

The ladder he was using slipped away from underneath him, causing the fall. However, he was later told he should have been using an alloy tower or podium due to the period of time he was working at height. Ladder mates were also not provided to make the job safer.

Laura Buchan, Head of Health and Safety Division for the council, said that this incident could have been easily prevented, recalling that falls from heights are the biggest contribution to death and serious injury in the construction industry: "Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings,” she commented

The council admitted fault and has since overhauled its working at heights procedure following the incident in 2013.