Time is Tight ... when it comes to surviving a fall from height
By Steve Crookes, consultancy director at EDP, one of the UK’s leading health, safety and environment consultants.
Let me ask you to absorb the fact that if one of your workers fell while working at a height, even if they have a safety harness on, it could prove fatal.
A worker that falls, and is saved by their harness, only has about five minutes to be rescued; any longer than 10 minutes in suspension and the devastating result could be death.
As difficult as it is to read, this is the dangerous reality of working at heights and the reason why you should read on.
The stark facts
Of the 144 workers killed as a result of a workplace accident in 2015/16, 26 per cent (37 cases) fell from a height. Some 18 of those fatal falls occurred in the construction sector, seven in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector and four in manufacturing.
Taking it away from the stark facts, that is 37 human beings who lost their lives and undoubtedly left behind devastated family, friends and colleagues.
It is harder to call out numbers on non-fatal injuries, as some don’t get reported, but from those that were reported from 2013/2014 to 2015/2016, the annual average was an estimated 37,000 cases (people). 
The same report by the Labour Force Survey revealed that on average, there will be 9.4 days lost per non-fatal fall from height workplace injury.
Not what it seems
Work at height can even mean working at ground level. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) describe it as working ‘in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury’.
This means, a worker could be working at height if they work above ground/floor level; if they could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or if they could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were introduced in a bid to prevent death and injury caused by falls from height, and so protect workers.
The main aim of these regulations is to encourage the avoidance of working at height if possible and where it cannot be avoided to use the best practicable means of ensuring the safety of those working at height.
These regulations place the duty on employers,
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