Edge protection could have a significant role to play in reducing the prevalence of major and long-term accidents, injuries and other incidents for specialist contractors.
The National Specialist Contractors Council has published its latest Accident Survey Report, collating statistics about the number and severity of incidents that occurred in 2012-13.
It reveals that slips and trips are the commonest cause of accidents, accounting for 25.7% overall – including 28.2% of major incidents, and 24.3% of injuries lasting more than seven days.
But while these can occur almost anywhere, working at height – which should account for a relatively small proportion of many firms’ operations – is responsible for almost as many accidents.
Falls contribute 24.9% of major accidents, as well as 9.8% of long-term injuries, equating to 11.6% of all incidents.
But objects that are either moving or falling also cause 9.6% of major injuries and 12.3% of injuries lasting a week or more, equivalent to 11.8% of all incidents.
While it is not clear how many of these objects are falling, rather than moving on the flat, it seems likely that at least some of these incidents could also be prevented with adequate edge protection.
The figures serve as a reminder that edge protection is an investment with double rewards – both in terms of protecting those working at height, and those working below.