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Industry must step up to stop height-related accidents

Shattered Lives is the name of the campaign launched by the Health and Safety Executive this month, which warns the industry it must act to prevent falls in the workplace.
Industry must step up to stop height-related accidents
Building and plant maintenance including air-conditioning repair work is highlighted in the HSE's poster campaign which runs throughout February and March 2008.

One HSE campaign poster shows the consequences felt by one worker who had been trying to reach an ac unit in the ceiling. The campaign literature reads 'Accidents in the workplace can shatter lives. Tom was always there when things went wrong. He was called in when one of the air con units stopped working in the office. He thought nothing of getting his hands dirty and fixing it. In a hurry Tom grabbed a chair to reach the air-con unit as there were no ladders around. Suddenly Tom fell and hurt himself'.

Falls are the biggest cause of fatal injury in UK's workplaces, with 23 of the 77 worker deaths in construction in 2006/07 resulting from a fall from height.

More than 4,000 major injuries including broken bones or fractured skulls are reported to the HSE each year by the construction industry. More than half of these serious injuries involve falls from height or from tripping over materials on walkways and are easily preventable.

Reducing the number of injuries and deaths from falls and trips is a priority for HSE to help the construction industry meet its accident target by 2010.

The HSE advises workers to:

Plan and organise work properly.

Make sure that people involved in work at height are competent.

Select and use the right equipment.

Keep walkways on site clear of obstructions.

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