Alison Thewliss MP hosted the virtual event where the No Falls Foundation laid out its ambitions for its upcoming No Falls Charter. The initiative embodies best practices allowing organisations to review their processes and prevent falls from height.
Peter Bennett OBE, Chair of the Foundation, highlighted the scale of the problem, explaining there are estimated to be 10 million people working at height as part of their job and every single day, and ninety-nine of them fall. Last year there were 35 fatalities, with more than half in construction. RoSPA, the UK health and safety charity estimate this figure is forty times higher for users working at height around the home.
The Foundation estimates the cost to business is over half a billion pounds along with the reputational damage, burdens of investigations and potential fines. Peter Bennett suggests that falls continue to happen due to the multiple sources of guidance, making it difficult for organisations to verify good practice with no available forum to learn from accidents and near misses.
The APPG identified in its Staying Alive enquiry in 2019 the need for an independent body to report on non-Riddor accidents and near misses to enable research and identify areas to learn and share best practices.
The Charter is a standardised action plan to remedy this problem, aimed at businesses committed to striving for zero falls from height. It will bring together standards, policies, regulations and industry bodies advice into one plan.
The scheme will initially focus on the construction sector. Participating businesses wanting to become a ‘No Falls Champion’ will pay fees to obtain an audit that will recommend areas to improve from training to product selection. It will also allow organisations to participate and benefit from the enhanced reporting. As a charity, the funds invested by the Foundation will help prevent falls and support those who have suffered a fall.
Peter Bennett concluded: “I believe this will be a game-changer in terms of preventing falls from height. We must have industry involvement in making the Charter a success.”
Following a consultation to ensure the Charter is realistic and achievable, the Foundation plans to set up a drafting panel formed by industry experts and ready to launch in 2022.