Cause for alarm

Cause for alarm

“These figures are a wakeup call”, says PASMA commenting upon the HSE’s annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2017/2018. At 144, the figure represents an increase of nine fatalities over 2016/17, despite an overall, long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981.(1)

 

Of the 144, falls from height remained the single biggest cause of fatalities, accounting for 35 (almost 25 percent) of the total. Next came ‘struck by a moving vehicle’ at 26 (18 percent), followed by ‘struck by a moving object’ at 23 (16 percent).

 

Comments PASMA’s chairwoman, Gillian Rutter: “Everyone involved in the work at height sector will be disappointed and concerned by these figures. They reinforce the need for two things. First, the unrelenting promotion of safety, standards and best practice. Second, the need to seek out and introduce new initiatives.”

 

Two such recent initiatives are the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height and the No Falls Foundation.

 

Instigated by PASMA and supported by the Access Industry Forum (AIF), the APPG launched its first official inquiry into the number of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from falls from height and falling objects in the workplace last year. It received over 60 evidence submissions and held its first oral session on 28 March 2018.

 

A report, with recommendations, is currently in the course of preparation and is expected to be published in the Autumn of 2018.

 

The No Falls Foundation is the first and only UK-based charity dedicated exclusively to the work at height sector. Supported by the AIF and other stakeholders, its aim is to prevent falls from height and to help people affected by the life-changing consequences of a fall. It has three principal objectives: Preventing falls; researching the causes of falls and providing support.

 

Says Gillian Rutter: “These initiatives will, over time, add considerably to the resources available to help keep people safe when working at height. It’s only by constantly advancing the height safety agenda that we will make a significant impact on these alarming statistics. These are people, not numbers”.

 

(1) Based on provisional figures for 2017/2018 issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 4 July 2018.