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Workers Continue to Lose Their Lives

Fatal accidents at work are unfortunately an all too common occurrence.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed a downward trend in the rate of fatal injuries in the workplace over the past 20 years, but there are suggestions that this has been levelling off in recent years. The latest figures from the HSE show that 142 workers lost their lives at work in 20014/15.

Death after Fall from Height

In one recent incident reported by the HSE, a worker lost his life after falling seven metres through a skylight.

When the HSE investigated the incident, it found that the work at height on the roof was not properly planned, managed or monitored. There were inadequate control measures in place to prevent a fall through the roof lights.

Two roofing companies pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches and were fined. A director of one of the companies also pleaded guilty and was given a 160 hours community service order.

“Falls through fragile roof lights and roofs are one of the biggest causes of fatalities and serious injury in the construction industry,” commented HSE Principal Inspector Paul Harvey, speaking after the hearing. “The issue is well known in the construction industry and there is plenty of guidance available.”

“The tragic death of Mr Davies could easily have been avoided had the work been planned, managed and monitored effectively and simple and cost effective control measures put in place,” he added.

Exposure to Toxic Gas

In a second, equally tragic incident, a worker died after being exposed to a toxic gas.

He worked for a medicinal herbal manufacturing company in Lincolnshire and was using cleaning chemicals to clean a changing room when he was exposed to a toxic gas (likely to be chlorine) and died at the scene.

An investigation by the HSE into the incident found that the worker had not been trained in the safe use of chemicals and no company Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessment had been carried out.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulation 6(1)(a) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, and was fined £45000 and ordered to pay full costs of £4,842.

“This was a tragic industrial incident that was entirely preventable had suitable precautions been taken,” said HM Inspector Stephen Farthing. “Karl Brader had not received any training in the safe use of hazardous chemicals and as a result died from the exposure to a toxic gas.”

“Companies should ensure that they assess all the risks associated with the use of dangerous chemical and that exposure to their employees is either eliminated or minimised,” he added.

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For advice on making a personal injury claim following an accident at work, then contact our expert personal injury lawyers today. Our experienced lawyers will be able to guide you through the process to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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