A matter of considerable distress

A matter of considerable distress

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I could have been reading a Dickensian novel when I was browsing the Edinburgh Evening News this week.

A worker for West Lothian Council faced a dreadful ordeal following a fall from height. The HSE investigation identified that there was a failure to ensure the work was properly planned, and that the accident was entirely foreseeable. Furthermore, it could have been prevented by putting in simple and sensible precautions as outlined by the Health and Safety Executive.

Simple ladder safety aids costing less than £100 had been purchased to reduce the likelihood of a fall, but they were not available at point of use. Instead, the worker involved sustained life-changing injuries and was in “considerable distress” after suffering multiple fractures to his knee, leg and hip. He will be suffering the consequences of this fall long after the incident itself.

In this case, the local authority was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure that work at height was properly planned, but unfortunately the findings of the investigation into the accident are reflected in numerous prosecutions relating to falls from height over the summer months.

Falls can be the subject of much derision, however with 424,000 fatal falls annually across the world they are second only to road traffic accidents as a cause of death globally!

How much time do we need to reflect on doing things the safe way? To quote Charles Dickens, “there is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency as the simple truth”. The simple truth here is that falls from height don't have to happen.

Dr Karen McDonnell, occupational safety and health policy adviser

Posted: 31/08/2017 11:03:52 0 comments


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