work platform accident

Work Platform Accident: The duties your employer owes you by law to ensure your safety when using a platform at height in the workplace

Find out the law which protects you when using a platform at height at work; the 6 specific duties your employer must comply with when using a work platform with free specialist work platform accident solicitor online legal help.

What is the law in the UK which protects you from having a work platform accident?

Specific legal guidance of the requirements imposed by law on your employer to ensure your safety when working at height on a platform are set out in The Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The regulation deals generally when working at heights, but also gives specific guidance in Schedule 3 to help avoid work platform accidents.

If access to the work platform is gained by a ladder there are specific additional duties owed by your employer in relation to use of a ladder set out in our ladder fall accident claims article.

What are the main duties your employer owes to prevent a work platform accident?

In addition to the general guidance for working at heights including risk assessments, regular inspection of the platform and supports and suitable training, your employer owes duties to consider the following:

1. Supporting structure of a platform must be suitable

As a platform is off the ground – a structure will be used to support the platform above the ground. This structure can include any material, plant and equipment.

Two examples of supporting structures include: scaffolding (used to support platforms within the structure of the scaffold) and a cherry picker, which is effectively a mechanical mobile supporting structure.

Basically anything used to keep a platform off the ground is a supporting structure and as such must be suitable. In other words able to cope with the weight of the platform together with all the materials and your body weight whilst the platform is being used and so help prevent a work platform accident.

2. The supporting structure should be stable

The supporting structure should be on a surface which is able to support the platform’s weight together with any loads used on it and keep the work platform level.

The structure should not be able to move whilst you are doing your job on the platform. This is true even if the structure is a mobile one.

Many platforms have wheels and a mistake employers make is to allow employees to use the platform without finding a way to ensure the structure does not move. When you are trying to fit an object or exert yourself, such platforms can move and cause you to lose your balance or hand hold and cause a work platform accident fall or other injury.

work platform injury

Work Platform Injury

3. The working platform should be suitable for the purpose it is intended

A horizontal work platform will have to cope with the stresses and strains of your work so it must have sufficient strength and rigidity so that it will not break, bend or wobble.

Newton’s laws set out that the strength of the platform material must be able to resist the force on it from weight and load, which is at its greatest the furthest from a fixed support.

4. The work platform should be safely erected

The platform itself might be suitable, but it should also be put together in a manner so as not to be dangerous.

Two examples of danger which could cause a work platform accident include: a platform erected in such a way that it could be moved by accident or in a manner which parts and components of the platform could fall off and endanger those below.

Equally – a platform should be dismantled safely so as not to endanger any workers or members of the public.

5. A working platform should itself not pose a danger to those using it

Work platform accidents can occur when a platform is not sufficiently large to allow you and your colleagues to have sufficient room to do the job intended or to allow plant and machinery to pass safely.

The surface of the platform should not be slippery, should not present trip hazards or have any gaps, which could allow you to fall through or any objects to fall off the platform and endanger those below.

Importantly – a working platform should not allow you or a body part to be caught between it and the structure it is positioned next to.

Consider a house with a scaffold erected next to it for renovation works – if the scaffold is too far from the walls of the house (with no barrier) too large a gap might be left which could allow your foot or other body part to be trapped and injured resulting in scaffold work platform accident.

6. Avoid the risk of work platform collapse

Care must be taken by your employer not to allow the platform to be loaded excessively, such that it could cause the platform to bend and so become unsafe or to collapse.

Work platform accident summary

In this article you have seen the specific duties that the law imposes on your employer to prevent a work platform accident.

Specialist solicitor free help to work injury victims

If you have suffered injury due to a fall, trip whilst working at height on a work platform or you have been hit by a falling object and wish to discuss your claim with a specialist solicitor or ask an online question – see our specialist solicitor free help options.