Working at height breaches increase by 84%

An 84% increase in the number of working at height breaches on construction sites during the first quarter of 2021 has been reported by the Building Safety Group (BSG).

The latest figures were obtained following 4,300 independent site inspections that took place between January 1 and March 31 this year.

Working at height remains the biggest danger for construction workers, according to BSG; figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2020 show that almost half of all construction accidents (47%) were from falls from height.

There were 40 fatal injuries in 2019/20, slightly up on the five-year average of 37 per year, and 29 of these fatalities were due to falls from height. Over 60% of deaths during working at height involve falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms, roof edges and through fragile roofs.

“Working at Height is clearly the most dangerous activity carried out in the construction sector” Andy Harper, technical support manager at BSG, said. “We can all do more to ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and conducted by qualified workers who have the required skills for the job in hand.

“Having the correct control measures in place and assessing the risk is also essential for avoiding accidents. In addition, companies should try to complete as much work as possible from the ground, ensure safe access and egress and importantly, make certain that any equipment used is suitable and designed for that purpose, installed and used by a competent person, and inspected as required by the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and relevant guidance.”