Even though Britain has some of the safest construction sites in the world, accidents still occur regularly, with falls continuing to be the biggest cause of fatal injury in workplaces around the country, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Due to people who work in the construction industry putting their bodies under immense amounts of pressure every day, it is no surprise that they are at a higher risk of serious personal injury than many other workers in the country.
There is such a wide variety of risks that workers are exposed to daily – from working at height to using dangerous equipment – making the construction industry one which is likely to see a high number of accident at work claims.
According to the Work at Height Regulations 2005, every employer needs to ensure that all work at height is properly planned, supervised appropriately and is carried out in as safe a manner as possible.
Despite these regulations being in place, accidents at work still occur, with 34 of the 72 worker deaths seen in the construction industry in 2007/08 being the result of a fall from height, HSE data shows.
As well as a high proportion of fatal injuries occurring when working at height, more than 4,000 major injuries – from broken bones to fractured skulls – are reported to the HSE, and many of these are likely to result in some kind of accident compensation claim.
More than half of these injuries are said to be as a result of falls from height or from workers tripping on materials left on walkways.
The law states that employers and self-employed contractors have to carry out a risk assessment on all work at height to ensure it is carried out safely.
According to the HSE, work at height is by far the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injuries in the construction industry, with the cause of 60 per cent of workers’ deaths including falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms and roof edges, among other things.
It is the employer’s or self-employed contractor’s responsibility to decide which precautions they need to take to ensure work at height is conducted safely.
These precautions can range from avoiding work at height where feasible – by opting for assembly at ground level – to preventing any person falling a distance which is likely to cause a personal injury.
Sustaining a personal injury through an accident at work could result in loss of earnings, as well as having a long-term impact on someone’s life.
Accidents within the construction industry could often have been avoided by the person tasked with carrying out the relevant risk assessments doing so properly.
Anyone who is injured in an accident at work needs to collect ample evidence to establish exactly what occurred, collecting details from witnesses at the scene of the accident.
After receiving treatment, the best course of action is to seek independent legal advice about pursuing an accident at work claim, as an injury could result in a significant loss of earnings which could be mitigated by the receipt of compensation.