MPs tell construction: ‘embrace tech’ to stop falls from height

A group of MPs is encouraging construction and other industries to adopt digital technologies that can prevent falls from height, including virtual and augmented reality and wearable devices.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height published at its last meeting a manifesto with four pledges to address the current challenges around this type of accident – the most common cause of workplace fatalities.

It includes a call for simplified reporting. The APPG says that currently, “several government agencies and organisations collect elements of accident data with varying effectiveness”.

The No Falls Foundation, a charity preventing falls from height, “fully supports” the APPG’s call for simplified reporting and “for data on how and why falls happen to be more easily accessible”.

Hannah Williams, charity manager at the No Falls Foundation, said at the APPG meeting: “The No Falls Foundation is undertaking the largest research survey of its kind into the underlying causes of a fall from height.

“The survey will be aimed at all sectors and people who either experienced, witnessed or investigated a fall from height. It will allow them to share detailed information on fall-from-height accidents. It will inform upcoming research projects we are undertaking as well as enabling us and others to focus resources in a more targeted way to prevent falls from height.”

The manifesto is also encouraging the use of technology to stop falls, including:

  • Supporting the HSE Science Discovering Safety initiative on leading indicators to predict risk.
  • Developments in wearable technologies to protect and alert against potential danger.
  • Mobile apps to provide information, competence verification and micro-learning at point of need.
  • Virtual and augmented reality to provide realistic training scenarios and plan work better.

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