Thorley Stephenson, Edinburgh Law Firm

Thorley Stephenson SSC is an Edinburgh based law firm providing a wide range of legal services in family, child and criminal court cases throughout Scotland. Tel: 0131 556 9599

Workers Fatally Injured Following Falls From Height

Failings by employers to protect their staff by effectively managing the risks involved in working at height have led to further fatalities at work, reports the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

In two recent reports of cases investigated by the HSE, the health and safety body has highlighted how both deaths could have been prevented if only the companies involved had put in place the necessary precautions to provide a safe system of work for its staff.

Fatal Head Injuries Following Six Metre Fall

In one such case, an employee of a construction firm received fatal head injuries after falling from a height of six metres to the ground. He had been working on the installation of roof sheets on a new agricultural building when he suffered the fatal fall.

When the HSE investigated the incident, it found evidence of a number of failings by the company, including that it had failed to provide suitable edge protection, failed to ensure there was a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks from the use of the edge protection and failed to ensure those installing the edge protection and supervising the work had received adequate training.

The company appeared in court where it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,060.

“Falls from height 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,” commented HSE inspector Kate Leftly, speaking after the hearing. “If suitable edge protection had been installed, the tragic death of this employee could have been prevented.”

Failure to Plan and Organise

In a second recently reported incident, an employee lost his life when the scissor-lift working platform he was operating was struck by a Long Goods Vehicle. As a result of the collision, he was ejected onto a roadway from a height of 1.5 metres and sustained fatal injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found that the employer failed to plan and organise work at height in a manner that ensured the safety of their workers. The work at height should have been organised to segregate activity in space and/or time from adjacent workplace transport operations.

It was fined £120,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement and monitor safe systems of work,” HSE Principal Inspector Norman Macritchie. “The company did not undertake the simple safety measure of segregating those working at height from adjacent workplace transport operations, in line with widely available industry guidance.”

Personal Injury Lawyers Edinburgh

If you think your employer has failed in their duty to safeguard your wellbeing at work, contact us today. Our expert personal injury solicitors can advise you on your rights to compensation and guide you through the process. Call us today on 0131 341 1667 to start your claim. We look forward to hearing from you.

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