An object falling from even a low height can cause significant injury. Hand held equipment, and any equipment being stored or placed at height, poses a real risk to anyone passing or working below.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended) imposes a duty on employers to do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anything that is likely to cause injury when falling from height.
What can be done to prevent such accidents
There are a number of ways employers can fulfil this duty:
- store equipment that must be kept at height safely, so if it moves it cannot fall
- use close boarded platforms or toe boards so it is more difficult to kick anything on the platform over the edge
- use covered platforms or walkways
- attach tools to safety lines so if that they are dropped they will not reach people working or passing below
- ensure that only equipment which is absolutely necessary is taken to work areas at height
This is not an exhaustive list – it merely gives examples of what employers may find reasonably practicable to do in order to avoid injury caused by falling objects.
In any event, clear warnings must be given if there is no reasonably practicable way in which to prevent the risk of workers being struck by a falling object. Workers in the area where the risk exists must be clearly warned, and employers must make sure that unauthorised persons cannot enter the area.
In 2017/18, RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) statistics revealed that being injured by a moving object accounts for over 10% of major injuries reported to HSE in the food and drink industries. Construction is another sector where this accident type is a disproportionate hazard, while the HSE reports that from April 2017 to March 2018 accidents involving being struck by a moving object were responsible for 23 fatal accidents across all sectors.
In all categories it was the services sector which saw the most incidents involving falling or flying objects, included in these industries are:
- retail workers
- motor vehicle repairers
- accommodation and food service workers
- education workers
- health and social workers
- scientific and technical operatives
- public administration and defence
Injuries caused by falling objects can vary greatly in their severity, from mild bruising, to head and/or brain injury and paraplegia or tetraplegia if a spinal injury has occurred.
Do you need to speak to a personal injury solicitor in Scotland?
Whether your injury has been caused in an agricultural setting, on a construction site, at a manufacturing plant, or in any one of the service industries, if it could and should have been prevented then you may be able to claim compensation for your pain and suffering, and any lost earnings.
Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland have many years' experience working in this field. We strive to achieve maximum compensation amounts for our clients and seek to ensure that injured parties, and their families, are not disadvantaged if the injury was caused by another party's negligence.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident involving a falling object contact our No Win No Fee lawyers on 0800 0891 331 for FREE compensations claims advice.