Ladders are used extensively at work in many different jobs and industries, and when used safely they can be a useful and effective piece of work equipment.
Employers Must Ensure Safety
Employers have access to a wide variety of information
to help them ensure their employees use ladders safely. The HSE acknowledges that ladders can be a “sensible and practical option for low-risk, short-duration tasks’, but stresses that the right ladder must be used for the job and employees must receive sufficient training to know how to use them safely.
Unfortunately however, too many employers to fail to meet these simple safety requirements and it is their employees who continue to suffer as a result.
Ladder Fall Causes Life-Changing Injuries
In one incident recently reported by the HSE
, a 60-year-old electrician sustained life-changing injuries as a result of a ladder fall.
He had been contracted to install electrical systems at a property conversion. He was working on the first floor of the house when he fell off his stepladder through an access opening onto the ground floor.
He broke his spine in three places and was paralysed from the chest down; he spent three months in a coma and a total of twelve months in hospital. Tragically, he died three years later, with the cause of death being respiratory failure due to a collapsed lung and pneumonia alongside his spinal injuries and paraplegia.
When the HSE investigated the incident, it found that the opening onto the first floor had no edge protection to prevent the risk of failing through. It also found that the company failed to plan, manage and monitor the work to the required standard.
The company pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Worker Not Sufficiently Trained
In a second incident, a worker sustained serious leg injuries as a result of a ladder fall.
He was working with colleagues to erect a scaffold when he lost all points of contact whilst climbing a 25ft ladder carrying a 16ft scaffold pole weighing about 20kg. He fell approximately 20ft to the ground and suffered multiple fractures to his right leg and ankle requiring surgery.
An investigation by the HSE
found both the company and director failed to ensure the scaffolding labourer was trained to the required competence to install scaffolding components.
It was also found the worker had not been adequately supervised and was working alone on the temporary roof scaffold. The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme has been the industry recognised scaffold training scheme for more than 40 years. The director knew the workers had not been trained but allowed work to continue unsupervised in his absence.
“The employee in this case is extremely lucky to have not suffered more severe and life threatening injuries,” commented HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed.
“The director knew the workers had not received the appropriate training in order to carry out the safe installation of the scaffolding and he put him at risk of harm by allowing unsupervised work to continue,” he added. “Duty holders must ensure all employees are trained to the required industry standard before carrying out any scaffolding work.”
If you have been injured as a result of a workplace accident then contact
our specialist personal injury lawyers today.