Preventing Accidents At Work In The Scaffolding Sector

accident at work claimsAccidents at work in the scaffolding industry can lead to serious injuries – personal injury solicitors see many workplace accident claims involving falls from height, and when health and safety regulations are not adhered to, the risk of a fall from height in the scaffolding sector can be significantly high.

The National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has recently documented safety statistics for 2012 from all 201 of the organisation’s contracting member companies, with these statistics covering over 14,000 employees, and while it found that the industry appears to be becoming safer, there are still a large number of accidents at work in the sector. Over 2012, a total of 134 injuries were recorded, representing a small fall on 2011’s figure of 145. Manual handling injuries in particular have become far less likely to occur, falling from 37 cases in 2011 to just 17 in 2012, or a 54% reduction.

The major cause of accident at work claims in the sector remains slips, trips and falls, with 2012 marking the 10th consecutive year that this has been the case. Overall, 34% of all injuries and accidents in the industry have related to slips, trips and falls. The number of fall from height accidents rose from 27 in 2011 to 32 in 2012, with both years seeing five falls from ladders.

While the number of accidents and injuries at work has fallen in the sector, the number of operatives rose over the year, strongly suggesting that safety standards are improving.

What Workers In The Scaffolding Industry Are Most At Risk?

Further analysis into the NASC’s figures reveal that scaffolders themselves appear to have the highest likelihood of making an industrial accident claim, as they are involved in 52% of all accidents. The second-most at-risk group are labourers, who are in 25% of all accidents, followed by trainees at 10% and advanced scaffolders at 8%. Drivers and supervisors are in 3% of all incidents, while 0% of all accidents involved managers. Overall, workers aged 21 to 30 face the highest risk of accidents.

The NASC urged scaffolders and scaffold users to review its new report and use this information to drive up safety within their business. Health and safety within the scaffolding industry does not have to be particularly challenging – business must simply take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure workplace accidents do not happen and that they avoid accident at work compensation claims.

–          Employees must be competent or supervised by a competent person

–          Employers must ensure employees are adequately supervised

–          Scaffolding should be designed by a competent person according to NASC guidance or manufacturer’ guidelines

–          Warning signs and access prevention methods should be used to dissuade unauthorised people from using incomplete scaffolds

–          Scaffolding should be inspected by a competent person whose training, knowledge and experience is suitable for the complexity of the structure they are examining

–          Employers should provide their employees with any personal protective equipment they require, including harnesses and hard hats.