Irish companies may be interested in recent suggestions from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over working at height.

Safety signs and the correct workwear can be vital elements in protecting staff in such instances and HSE inspector Annette Leppla explained businesses should take responsibility for workers when operating above ground level.

Discussing an accident in which a 20-year-old employee fell almost four metres through an opening in the floor, she said it was preventable and predictable.

“The worker was severely injured because his employer failed to do enough about the risks associated with working at height,” she revealed.

According to the body, the apprentice joiner fell through a hole that had been covered by a sheet of loose plywood.

Ms Leppla said it was fortunate the man was not permanently injured or killed after “totally unsuitable” coverings had been left loose over the holes for days.