Any time a worker is asked to work from a raised platform, whether it is a ladder, a scaffold gantry or a hydraulic scissor lift, they are working at height and the task in hand becomes inherently more dangerous.
Employers are required by law to ensure that all working practices are as safe as possible and this includes when asking operatives to work at height.
Once a worker is raised off the ground the chances of personal injury become greater, especially work related spinal injury and head injury.
Falls from more than two metres in height have the greatest potential to cause death and catastrophic injury, so health and safety law dictates that employers must regularly inspect any platform built to enable working at height, and after it is moved or suffers any event which may reduce its stability.
A guide to approaching work at height
The Health and Safety Executive's guide to working at height for employers suggests that four questions should always be asked before a task is carried out off the ground:
- Can you AVOID working at height in the first place? If not,
- Can you PREVENT a fall from occurring? If not,
- Can you MINIMISE the distance and/or consequences of a fall?
- Can a ladder or stepladder be used for a low risk, short duration task?
Why do so many spinal injuries occur following a fall from height
Any fall from at least one metre has the potential to cause significant damage to the spine and/or spinal cord. Fractures to the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar spine (lower back) are fairly common following a fall from height, as are fractures at the connection point between the two areas, the thoracolumbar junction.
Often, such work-related spinal injuries are compounded by other injuries which generally occur as a result of the forces exerted upon impact; such as limb fractures and dislocation, hip fractures and head injuries.
Who can claim compensation following a fall at work
If the fall could have been prevented, perhaps because the task should have been carried out from ground level or a platform built for the task had not been properly inspected, then the worker may well be eligible to claim compensation.
Likewise, if the operative had not been given sufficient training or personal protective equipment which could have minimised and/or mitigated the risk of a fall, then, once again, the likelihood of a successful damages award is high.
Here at Seth Lovis & Co, we understand that the most pressing issue is the care of the spine injury patient following an accident at work. That's why we always attempt to seek interim payments from the liable party as soon as possible to enable the most suitable treatments, therapies and rehabilitation to commence.
If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related spinal injury and you believe it was the result of another party's negligence, then please contact us today at Seth Lovis & Co, personal injury solicitors in London, so that we can discuss your options.
You can fill in one of our online claim forms, or call us on 0808 252 0678. We are happy to discuss your circumstances on a no-obligation basis and will offer initial legal advice so that you may consider how you wish to proceed.