Falls from Height



“I find Arinite professional, responsive and committed to ensuring excellent health and safety practices within the workplace and within our resident’s homes.

I would recommend Arinite, they are responsive and reply very quickly to correspondence.

In addition to this our consultant is highly knowledgeable and is able to give us up to date information and guidance on a wide range of health and safety matters.

Having an independent person to run scenarios and situations past has resulted in reduced costs for example when we have received reports from insurers.”

Louise Graham,
Housing Operations Manager, Sapphire Independent Housing, June 2017

Falls from Height

Falls from height may be from windows, balconies or stairs and can result in serious or fatal injuries.

There are three broad categories of falls –

Accidental falls

These can occur when a person is sitting on a window sill, leaning out of a window, or where the sill or banister height is low and acts as a pivot, allowing them to fall. Other contributing factors can be reduced mental capacity, mental disorder, or alcohol and drugs, both prescribed and illegal.

Falls arising out of confused mental state

Many reported accidents involve residents in either a temporary or permanent confused mental state, often caused by senility or dementia, reduced mental capacity, mental disorder, or alcohol and drugs both prescribed and illegal.

In some cases, individuals try to escape from an environment they perceive to be hostile, and may use a window believing it to be an exit.

Other factors may include unfamiliarity with new surroundings, uncomfortable temperatures, broken sleep and medication effects.

Deliberate Self-harm

This is a recognised risk for residents with certain mental health conditions.

Appropriate standards must be met where windows can be fully opened and are accessible to people at risk of falling or climbing out.

In assessing the risks, you should consider furniture, or anything that may enable residents to climb over barriers, to access windows which might otherwise be inaccessible.

Where window openings have been restricted there should be a provision for adequate cooling, e.g. high-level and/or restricted aperture ventilation, fans or air conditioning.

Window restrictors (reducing the opening to 100 mm or less) should be suitably robust and of an approved type.

Windows fitted with initial opening restrictors are not suitable in social care premises where individuals are at risk, as they can be easily overridden.

At risk residents should not be able to access balconies and external fire stairs.

Key points to consider

  • Identify which residents are most at risk from falling and ensure controls are adequate, suitably robust and properly maintained.
  • Plan for a safe environment when employees are working at height.
  • Ladders etc. should be suitable, stored safely, maintained and inspected.
  • Ensure employees are trained and competent to do any at-height work.

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