The Penningtons Manches personal injury has welcomed the overhaul of guidance on working at height which was launched at the end of January by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). HSE statistics reveal that more than 40 people are killed and 4,000 suffer major injuries every year from falls.

More than 10 million employees are estimated to carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year and it is widely accepted that falls are one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury at work. The overhaul is an attempt to give employers clearer guidance  for protecting their workers, setting out in simple terms what to do and what not to do. The HSE believes this will also educate employers about common misconceptions that can confuse and mislead those responsible for ensuring the safety of employees who work at height. Key changes include:

  • providing simple advice about dos and don’ts when working at height to ensure people are clear on the law’s requirements
  • exposing some of the persistent myths about health and safety law, such as the banning of ladders when they can still be used
  • offering targeted advice to help business in different sectors manage serious risks sensibly and proportionately
  • helping workers to be clearer about their own responsibilities for working safely.

Steven John, senior associate in the personal injury team, said: "This overhaul  has been needed for some time. We see injuries caused by falls at height on a regular basis, often involving a lack of risk assessment and suitable equipment and/or training in place. They are often totally avoidable and are the result of clear failings from a health and safety perspective. Sadly, in most of the cases we have dealt with the individuals suffer life changing injuries. The revised guidance should help employers and employees to ensure work at height is carried out in a safer manner and reduce death or serious injury.”