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Worker lowering wheelbarrowAn 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.

Accident statistics

In 2019/20, RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) statistics revealed that being struck by a moving/falling object accounted for 10% of non-fatal specified and over 7-day injuries across all industries. Construction is another sector where this accident type is a disproportionate hazard, RIDDOR average figures from 2017/18 to 20/19/20 show that being struck by a moving/falling object in the construction industry resulted in 12% of non-fatal injuries, while the total industry figure for this type of accident was 10%.

RIDDOR figures for 2020/21 report that accidents involving being struck by a moving object resulted in 17 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.

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