Two large claims for falls from height valued at over £2m combined have prompted a health and safety warning from ECIC, the specialist insurer for the construction industry. As work ramps up at the start of Spring, ECIC is urging trade professionals and employers to take a fresh look at the risks on site, ensuring their health and safety policies, insurance covers and warranties align with any diversification in work performed such as solar panel installation by electricians. The warning comes in the light of new HSE statistics which show that last year more than 6,300 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work, and 18 months after the introduction of hourly charges for HSE inspections on site, adding to the cost employers could face for accidents at work.
Since the start of 2014, ECIC has managed two major fall from height claims. The first was for a fall by a roofer through an asbestos roof while the second was for an electrician who fell through a hole in the first floor, through to the ground. Both tradespeople are now facing life changing injuries.
Ian Hollingworth, Claims Manager for ECIC said:
“Falls from height are the most common cause of fatalities amongst workers according to the HSE and construction accounts for a fifth of all major injury falls to employees. Understanding the risks is vital and particularly pertinent when diversifying into new areas of work. We know for example, that increasing numbers of electricians are moving into solar panel installation, working at pitch, up on residential roofs while handling heavy panels.
“While the physical and emotional cost of an accident must be front of mind for employee and employer alike, it’s also the monetary cost that employers should consider. They may lose an employee from the workforce for months on end, or indefinitely and with the HSE now charging hourly rates for investigating breaches of H&S regulations, the cost of dealing with any claims arising from an accident could easily escalate.
“Our claims records show that contractors are falling from ladders, scaffolding and platforms, with falls from step ladders almost too numerous to mention. These accidents are largely avoidable and regular safety checks, better management of risk and training can go a long way to mitigating the risks, creating a safer working environment for all.”