• 02 Nov 2022

The leading cause of workplace fatality

As the lights flash in your eyes and the music pounds in your mind, the host of your favourite tv show faces you... here it comes, the bonus prize question. Your heart begins to pound as you realise that your chances of getting on the property ladder, comes down to this one simple question. What could it be.

"What is the leading cause of work-related fatality?"... It spins in your head for what seems like minutes, echoing and getting ever louder. "What is the leading cause of work-related fatality?"...."What is the leading cause?"... "leading cause"... it swirls in the void between your eyes when suddenly It comes to you, "being hit by a falling object" you shout out.

The big red cross flashes on the screen and your heart pounds even faster. "Emmm.. Being hit by a forklift" you yell out, again the sound of failure bellows through the studio, How hard can this be? you think.

It's got to be so obvious. "Electrocution" you stutter, it's your final answer and your last chance of getting on that ever elusive property ladder... are you right? Well... you'll find out after the break.

Come on!!! You've got to be kidding me you think. During the break you sit and think of other possible answers... "Pulled into Machinery? Crushed by Machinery? Hit by a Moving Vehicle? Racking Collapse? Fire? Explosion?" Oh man, there's just too many ways people can die at work. Wow.

You jump slightly as the theme tune starts up again. "Electrocution" you think "that's a good answer, a solid answer". Suddenly it's deadly quiet, there's not a sound apart from the occasional rustle from a viewers popcorn. "Well how are you feeling?" the host delays the answer just a little longer. You simply nod and smile to portray your desire to just get on with it. "For the bonus prize of ££££ we asked you.... What is the leading cause of work-related fatality? and your final answer was Electrocution, but were you right?"

The ever familiar sound of failure rings in your ears. "I'm sorry, that was not the correct answer". You're gutted, gutted like a fish who'd just been to an "all you can eat" world buffet. Your foot slips violently off the property ladder as you realise you've just floundered your chances of ££££.

The audience sighs in unison then begins to clap like a thousand mini reminders that you've just lost. "The answer we were looking for was...Falls from Height". Falls from height? No way you think. It's a con. It's a sham. There's no way that more people die from falling from a ladder than anything else. You make a mental reminder to look up the statistics as soon as you possibly can. Read more HSE Statistics

The host turns to the camera with an enormous white smile. "Thank you for watching Morbid Point, i've been your host, until next time"


Would you have guessed that falling from height is the leading cause of work-related fatality? According to HSE figures, falling from height accounted for 25% of fatal injuries and 8% of all non-fatal injuries to UK workers in 2020/21. The most common causes of these accidents were using ladders incorrectly or a lack of proper equipment.

Most people don't think of ladders as a dangerous piece of equipment and would be shocked to learn that falling from one, is the leading cause of death at work.

I wrote the story above because i wanted people to actually learn. No professional jargon, but instead, an engaging story. The more people that learn about the risks of working at height and the dangers that ladders pose, the more people we can save. We live in a culture where being cautious / afraid of working at height is seen as weakness. We need to remove the "It's just a ladder" stereotype and replace it with, "people die from falling 1.5m from ladders".

Change is necessary. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of employees, including implementing measures to protect them against falls from height.

Make sure your employees are trained, responsible and carry out regular inspections on their ladders.

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