Slips and trips outstrip falls for scaffolders

Accidents involving scaffolding workers rose by nine per cent last year, according to new figures from the sector’s leading trade association.

The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) published its 2015 NASC Safety Report on 9 April, revealing that there were no fatalities among its 14,988 member operatives in 2014.

However, the total number of accidents reported by NASC members increased by nine per cent from 96 in 2013 to 105 in 2014, corresponding with a similar rise in membership over the same period.

The report recorded 24 falls from height in 2014, with the highest reported from six metres. There were nine falls from scaffolds or working platforms, with three from four metres or above and six below that height, and seven falls from ladders

Slips, trips and falls on the same level totalled 39 incidents during 2014, accounting for 37 per cent of all accidents recorded, nearly five per cent lower than for the same type of incident in 2013.

The most common injuries suffered by operatives were injuries to the feet, toes and Ankles, followed by injuries to the hands, fingers and wrists.

NASC managing director Robin James said the analysis would be helpful in raising standards and levels of safety in the scaffolding and access industry, adding: “We will be encouraging members to continue to work towards reducing accident figures.”

NASC is currently working on reviewing its own health and safety guidance, with a launch due in the autumn, along with new slips, trips and falls guidance to be published this year.

The low accident rate reported by NASC is encouraging but the fact that in a profession involving working at heights, slips, trips and fall at the same level were among the most common incidents highlights the importance of employers staying vigilant over all aspects of health and safety within their operations, whatever type of business they operate.

Employers seeking clarification or guidance on their health and safety responsibilities or facing prosecution can find out more by visiting the Palmers website or contacting our health and safety specialists Lara Murray and Jeremy Sirrell.