Work at height continues to be the greatest causal factor for fatalities and serious injury in the construction sector. Many falls occur at relatively low heights, e.g. 2 or 3 metres above ground level. According to the latest figures for fatal workplace injuries in the Irish construction sector (2020), of the 11 fatal accidents reported to the Health and Safety Authority, 5 were the consequence of falls from height.
Although we have limited exposure to work at height on the N5 Road Project Advance Works, all those engaged in construction activity are reminded to undertake risk assessments for any elevated operations. Work must be adequately planned and organised, in order to make the risks as low as reasonably practicable.
Since the establishment of the Health and Safety Authority under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989, there have been 440 construction related fatal workplace accidents reported to the H.S.A. (1989- 2019: 37-year reporting period)
- 338 of the fatal accidents were recorded within the construction sector
- 95 of these fatal accidents resulted from falls from height
- Of these accidents, 337 were male and 1 was female
- 102 of the fatal accidents were recorded in other business sectors which involved construction work (e.g. farming- repairing the roofs of farmyard buildings)
- Of the accidents from other sectors, 101 were male and 1 was female
- 31 of these fatal accidents were the result of falls from height
Some interesting facts about falls from height………
- It takes the average human 0.67 seconds to realise that they are accidentally falling, and react to the situation
- During that time, they have already fallen over 2.2metres (7 feet) vertically at a velocity of 6.57metres per second
- After 2 seconds, the unfortunate victim has fallen 19.6 metres, and is now travelling at 70 kilometres per hour.
Falls from height are the biggest killer of construction workers. Of 46 workplace fatalities reported to the H.S.A. in 2019, 11 were the deaths of personnel killed by falls from height or falling objects!