Employers have a responsibility to put measures in place to protect employees from falls. If a fall does occur, then there are also legal obligations to not only ensure employees receive prompt medical attention, but also to record and report the nature of the fall.
Between 2020 and 2021, over 565,000 total workplace injuries were recorded, amounting to 6 million days of lost productivity, according to the HSE.
Of all the injury types, falls consistently account for both the largest number of workplace-related injuries and deaths in the UK.
While no substitute for an official health and safety assessment or training, here is what employers need to know about what to do if an employee has a fall at work.
Tending To The Employee And Their Injuries
Naturally, the first consideration when someone has sustained a fall is to ensure they receive a prompt medical assessment by a first aider. Caution should still be applied even if the fall seems relatively minor, as this is no guarantee that a more serious injury has not occurred.
More severe injuries such as sprains, slipped discs, lacerations, broken bones or head injuries will require urgent medical assistance. It is advised that the first aider remains with the patient while 999 is dialled so that any instructions on how to care for the patient including how to avoid making any potential injuries worse can be best followed.
Employees have the right to:
- Seek medical attention for injuries sustained at work.
- Claim for compensation if they have sustained an injury at work that was not their fault, including putting in a claim for ‘contributory negligence’ against their employer.
- Leave a work environment they deem to be unsafe due to a lack of health and safety or where well-being is at risk.
As an employer, you cannot legally stop employees from doing any of the above. In addition, it is good practice to make employees aware of their rights, especially if they have been injured while at work.
Recording The Accident
Injuries including falls which happen at work need to be recorded in an accident book. In addition, it is also a legal requirement to file a RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) report.
When recording or reporting an accident, it is extremely important to note down the full details of what has occurred.
– Employee name and job title
– Date and time the incident occurred
– Injuries sustained
– How the incident happened
– Documentation including who reported the incident and who has responded to it
Preventing Falls At Work
As an employer, the most optimum time to come across this post and similar ones is before an accident such as a slip, trip or fall takes place within your workplace.
That’s because now is the best time to ensure that all measures are being taken to keep your workforce safe while on the job.
Furthermore, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to “ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable.”
Some of the top steps involved in preventing falls at work include:
– Conducting risk assessments as and whenever necessary
– Avoiding working at a height unless no suitable alternative exists
– Ensure workers are using the correct fall protection or fall arrest equipment
– Reporting and remedying potential safety hazards without delay
– Using signage to warn employees of potential dangers
– Wearing the correct PPE including footwear to prevent slips and trips
– Keeping the workplace neat and tidy
In addition, it is also essential to put measures in place based on previous incidents, including minor falls. This will help ensure that similar incidents are less likely to occur in future, especially if such measures are also accompanied by employee training and awareness exercises.
Metreel – Help Prevent Falls In Your Workplace With Our Leading Fall Protection Equipment
The best action any responsible employer can take today is to ensure they are doing their utmost to maintain a safe workplace, including preventing the risk of falls.
If your team is in search of such fall protection equipment to keep them safe, Metreel can advise on the most suitable solutions based on the type of work your team carry out.