The Ladder Association is urging those responsible for managing the safe use of ladders, to put ladder training at the top of their height safety agenda after a painter and decorator sustained serious life changing injuries from a fall from height. The employee fell while installing a roof ladder on a pitched roof to paint exterior dormer windows.
The HSE investigation found that the incident could have been prevented if the work at height hierarchy had been followed and appropriate equipment provided. The painting of the windows was not short duration work and should have been done from an appropriate work platform. Ladders were not the appropriate equipment.
The Ladder Association believe that training is an important contribution in keeping people safe when working at height including understanding when it’s right to use a ladder (and importantly when it’s not), choosing the right ladder and understanding the simple steps to take to use the ladder safely.
Ladders can be a practical choice for low risk/short duration tasks (maximum 30 minutes), but they shouldn’t automatically be the first choice. Ladders can be used for work at height when a risk assessment has shown that using equipment offering a higher level of fall protection is not justified because of the low risk and short duration of use; or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered.
Falls from height remain one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities and injuries – accounting for 40 fatalities in 2018/2019 – with many injuries having life-changing consequences for the victim and their families.