Our Expert Solicitors Can Help You Claim Compensation for Injuries Sustained While Working as a Steeplejack
Steeplejacks operate in such difficult, and potentially dangerous, environments that it is generally recognised as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.
Aside from the obvious risks associated with working at often extreme heights, steeplejacks also must contend with adverse and unpredictable weather; structures which can be old and unstable; combustible materials; and, when working with older structures, exposure to asbestos.
Given all these factors, it is inevitable that accidents will occur, and, as steeplejacks are often working at significant heights, the consequences of an accident can be very serious. Detailed regulations specify the responsibilities of employers of those who work at height and ensure that you are able to seek compensation from your employer if they have failed to properly consider your health and safety.
If you have suffered an injury, and you believe that you might have a claim against your employer, our experienced personal injury solicitors will be able to advise you.
We offer all our personal injury legal services on a No Win No Fee basis, and we guarantee that a qualified solicitor will be allocated to your claim and will your point of contact with the firm.
Our focus on the quality of our personal service and legal advice means that we have developed a reputation for securing higher compensation payments than our competitors, so we are confident that we are the right choice if you do decide to pursue a claim.
Dangers of working as a steeplejack
Working as a steeplejack puts you at risk, not only of suffering the typical injuries caused by accidents in the workplace, but also from a range of specific dangers which relate to the unusual environment and working conditions which are involved:
· Falls: probably the most obvious danger for a steeplejack is a fall. Often you will be working tens of metres above the ground, undertaking complex and physically demanding activities. Even a fall from a comparatively low height can cause serious injury (and even death), so strict regulations are in place which govern the responsibilities of employers in this area.
· Adverse weather: working at significant heights entails often prolonged exposure to severe weather conditions, which serve to make this type of work even more difficult than it already is. High winds, heavy rain and cold temperatures can all increase the risks associated with working as a steeplejack.
· Structural failures: maintenance of fragile and / or aging structures is one of the main jobs a steeplejack does, and this often means that the structures they are working with are unstable. Accidents can occur when structures collapse or fall, usually causing significant injuries.
· Falling debris: the unstable nature of many of the structures steeplejacks work with also means that they are exposed to the risk of falling debris from these structures, with the associated risk of crushing injuries caused by this falling material.
· Fires and explosions: the nature of the work of a steeplejack means that the danger of fire or explosion exists in many of the structures with which they work. The exposed position of the steeplejack makes these dangers even more serious.
· Cranes: steeplejacks are often required to work with cranes which, although they can provide safer working environments in most situations, can also create risks of their own if they are incorrectly operated. Accidents can occur due to the way the crane is operated or due to carelessness in the location of the crane.
· Toxic exposure: often steeplejacks are required to work with structures which once contained harmful and dangerous substances. Working in these environments creates a serious risk of injury or illness, which employers need to take responsibility for. Specific issues relating to asbestos exposure can also arise, given the age of the structures involved, and employers have specific responsibilities in relation to those risks (see below).
The Work at Height Regulations 2005
The dangers of working as a steeplejack are such that the duty of their employers to safeguard their health and safety has been recognised by the Health and Safety Executive.
The Work at Heights Regulations 2005 state that employers must ensure:
- they properly plan all work at height;
- all those working at height have the relevant training;
- the safety of the place where the work will take place;
- all the equipment being used at height is in proper working order and is regularly inspected;
- potentially dangerous weather conditions are properly considered; and
- risks due to fragile surface and falling objects are controlled effectively.
If you have suffered an injury, and you believe that your employer may have failed to properly fulfil their responsibilities under these Regulations, you may have a claim and we would be happy to advise you on the most appropriate way to proceed.
Workers across a range of industry can suffer injuries due to working at height, but the Health and Safety Executive identifies four particular key industries which involve significant risks:
· Agriculture, forestry and arboriculture – working with trees presents a particular set of difficulties, which need to be properly considered by employers.
· Construction – working in the construction industry will often involve the use of scaffolding. A hierarchy of controls is required (avoid, prevent, arrest) which means that fall restraints and safety netting should only be considered if all other options to carry out the work and all other safety equipment has been ruled out.
· Roof work – most fatal falls at work are from roofs, with workers falling through fragile materials such as lights, skylights or asbestos roofing sheets. Employers have a responsibility to minimise the dangers involved in this type of work.
· Workplace transport – falling from vehicles is one of the most common ways to sustain an injury at work. Once again, employers must take steps to ensure that workers are protected from these risks.
Common injuries sustained by steeplejacks
Most claims relating to working as a steeplejack relate to falls, although the dangers of exposure to harmful materials is also significant. Common injuries sustained by steeplejacks include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Slips, trips and falls
- Exposure to toxic and /or hazardous substances (see below)
Asbestos exposure claims
Due to the age and materials used in the construction of many of the structures steeplejacks work with, exposure to asbestos is a significant issue in this industry. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 provides guidance for employers so that they can safeguard workers against the risks of being exposed. The Regulations specify that employers must take reasonable measures to check whether there is asbestos in the structure, and that they must presume that a structure contains asbestos unless they have strong evidence that it does not.
Your employer must also assess the risk of anyone being exposed to asbestos, plan how to manage those risks and then do whatever is required to put that plan in place. Failure to take any of these steps could mean that you are able to make a claim against your employer if you suffer illness as a result of exposure to asbestos.
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The team at PSR solicitors is best placed to help you with your Industrial Accident Compensation Claim.
With offices in Wrexham, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Shotton (Deeside) and Ellesmere Port, PSR are a leading Personal Injury Law Firm in Wales and Injury Solicitors in Cheshire. We regularly act for clients on major personal injury claims across North Wales, Cheshire, Liverpool and Merseyside. As a recognised injury claims specialist we can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland.
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