Health and Safety Height Regulations Step Ladders

Man wearing height safety kit safely climbing a ladder

Approximately 400 serious injuries and 15 deaths involving safety ladders occur in the UK each year. If an untrained worker dies or gets seriously injured from falling off a ladder, what excuse could you provide? Equip your workforce with the necessary training to ensure safety on step ladders at height and prevent such incidents. 

Accidents with safety ladders are common, typically caused by the ladder slipping or tilting at the top, or sliding outward at the base. In some instances, ladder parts fail due to poor conditions. Remember, gravity only goes one way, and it’s not the fall but the impact that causes harm. These incidents often occur during routine production, maintenance, building repair, cleaning, or plant access tasks.

Who is responsible for ladder safety?

Workers often wonder if it is the responsibility of management to provide safety training for those who climb ladders, and the answer is YES! The current Health and safety legislation ‘The Work at Height Regulations: 2005 says:

“All those working at height need to be trained to work at height and this includes working on ladders step ladders and safety ladders.” All operatives should therefore complete a ladder safety course.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, states corporate manslaughter is a crime that is committed by a company in relation to a work-related death. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act affects all companies regardless of size. It means that, organisations can be prosecuted where a safety failure is the cause of work-related deaths.

Juries will consider how the fatal activity was managed or organised throughout the organisation, including any systems and processes for managing safety and how these were operated in practice.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) safety

Along with appropriateness to the task comes the idea of PPE functioning properly. For example, you might have a fall arrest lanyard properly rated for the worker, correctly attached to a safety harness, and correctly anchored with an appropriate connector. But a fatal accident could still occur if that lanyard is not inspected on a regular basis to ensure the material hasn’t perished, cuts have not occurred and the shock absorber has not been deployed. It is the shock absorber that will deal with the dynamic energy that prevent internal organ damage in a case of a fall, a cut in the webbing would result in the lanyard snapping. If it’s not working properly it could mean the difference between life and death.

How often should PPE safety be inspected? 

Safety inspections should be undertaken on a routine basis, including checking the proper functioning of all PPE. For PPE the inspection should take place every six months (or manufactures recommendations if sooner) in arduous condition (equipment used every day in a harsh environment) should be brought down to every three months. Failing to conduct such inspections will bring a certain amount of liability on company owners, managers, supervisors and users. It can also mean the imposition of stiff fines and other penalties should an accident result. Such inspections are not something to be taken lightly by supervisors and managers.

It’s a legal obligation!

A Duty of Care exists in respect to working at height and the equipment used by employees. If found guilty of work-related injury or death, an organisation could be ordered to:

‣  Pay an unlimited fine

‣ Take remedial action within a specified period

‣ Publicise full details of their conviction

Don’t take chances, get trained now!

Good management teams need to be proactive in developing safe working practices and making them priority for their workers.

Leading Edge have developed courses suitable for all those who have a requirement to climb and work from ladders, step ladders and safety ladders. Ladders and step ladders are an essential tool within the work place. Our step ladder training course is applicable for all industry sectors and places of work. The course has been carefully devised in line with the latest studies and research to address the following fundamental issues:

‣ Why accidents are happening

‣ Fundamental principals’ including a look at Ladder types and their applications

‣ Accessories currently on the market which can make ladder safer

‣ Pre use considerations including, positioning and stability

‣ Good and bad practice

‣ Golden rules for safe use of safety ladders, step ladders and ladders

‣ HSE research and good practice new requirements

The key strength of the course is its method of delivery; highly visual in nature it includes numerous illustrations and photographs. Our instructors energetically deliver the course and encourage group interaction. We have found this to be a particularly effective way for the course to be enjoyable, and more importantly to ensure the key information is retained.

Get certified and discover more about our ladder height safety course today. 

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