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 Working at height accounts for 11% of safety incidents on major public works

Working at height accounts for 11% of safety incidents on major public works

2 June 2019 Email this article

Figures supplied to working at height specialists Heightsafe by four of the UK’s most high-profile public works construction projects have shown just how many safety incidents relate to working at height.

Data gathered from four of the UK’s most high-profile public construction and maintenance projects have indicated that 11% of reported health and safety incidents are related to working at height. This snapshot provides insight into the levels of preventable accidents and incidents occurring on public works.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Heightsafe to HS2 Ltd, Sellafield Ltd, Highways England (motorway works M1-M6) and Network Rail (Crossrail) asked how many reported health and safety incidents had occurred across specific projects. Further, it asked what proportion of these incidents were related to work at height. The respondents shared details of RIDDOR, LTA and recordable incidents.

Of the 538 non-fatal, reported incidents across the four projects, 56 were as a result of work at height. There were no reported fatalities. Of all respondents Network Rail’s Crossrail project reported the highest number of total incidents, and highest number related to Working at Height – 321 and 35 respectively.

Ken Diable, managing director of Heightsafe, said: “The risk of working at height for construction and maintenance workers is known to be higher than those working in other sectors. In fact, falls from height accounted for the majority of fatal injuries to workers from 2013-18.

“We are relieved to see that respondents reported there were no deaths as a result of Working at Height on their projects. However, there were still over 50 incidents that in all likelihood could, and should have been prevented.”