We often report on where weak guardrails or a lack of edge protection has led to an accident or injury occurring in a workplace, often followed by a HSE investigation and a sizeable fine.
But it’s equally important to recognise where sectors are heeding the message of how edge protection can help to protect employees around the workplace.
The plastics sector is one such industry, with the latest accident statistics from the British Plastics Federation indicating that falls from height are now one of the least frequent causes of injury for employees.
According to the organisation’s latest data, cuts are the commonest cause of injury – although it is likely that many of these are relatively minor.
Collisions with stationary objects rank next, followed by handling injuries, slips, trips and falls, and collisions with moving objects.
Other than these five categories, injury risks are relatively low – and it is important to distinguish between slips and trips on the flat, and falls from height.
Falls from an elevated position are only a very small risk factor for plastics workers, perhaps due to the correct use of adequate guardrails in locations where they are needed.
But companies should not become complacent because of this – it is essential to continue fitting guard rails in exposed positions, while other industries may wish to take the plastics sector’s lead in tackling falls as a cause of injury.