Following the tragic news that television personality George Gilbey has died after suffering a fall while at work, the Access Industry Forum and the No Falls Foundation are demanding action.

The No Falls Foundation is the charity devoted exclusively to the work at height sector. The Foundation is dedicated to preventing falls from height and helping people affected by the life-changing consequences of a fall.

Falls from height are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the UK. 40 people lost their lives in 2022/23, with over 5,000 people left injured after falling from a height at their workplace.

According to a Labour Force Survey, the number of falls over the last 10 years may be as high as 425,000. This issue is also an economic one, with estimates showing 992,000 working days were lost through non-fatal falls from height in 2022 alone, with the total cost of  falls in 2022/23 over an estimated £847 million when considering the costs to employers, the individual and Government.

The No Falls Foundation is working in partnership with stakeholders such as the Access Industry Forum (AIF), other trade associations, professional bodies and organisations who are committed to preventing falls from height to make workplaces safer.

As part of this, they are calling for a new, simplified system of reporting to accurately reflect the causes of workplace accidents so that targeted measures can be implemented to prevent falls from height.

Accidents at work are required by law to be reported by employers through the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), however the AIF argues that the way in which these incidents are recorded provides little information to help prevent future falls.

The AIF says the current reporting system makes it difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes of falls from height and to identify whether they are related to issues such as the wrong equipment being selected, a lack of training, inadequate planning, or any other variety of contributing factors.

Commenting, Peter Bennett OBE, Chair of the No Falls Foundation and the Access Industry Forum said:

“Everyone who works at height should be able to work safely and return home unharmed at the end of every shift. No one should leave for work and never return. Even if a fall is non-fatal, the consequences are often life-changing for the person involved, with many unable to return to their previous occupation. These accidents can have far-reaching long-term effects on families for generations to come.

“The figures have been consistent over recent years, with no real signs of improvement. We know that there is an under reporting of incidents at work and alongside simplified reporting, we must encourage industry and individuals to record workplace falls. Only by implementing this can we gain a better picture of the causes of falls from height, so that one day, we can finally eliminate these tragic accidents.

“We were devastated to hear the awful news that another life has been lost due to a fall from height in the workplace and our thoughts are very much with George Gilbey’s mum Linda and all his family and friends.”