World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an initiative created by The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and will be taking place on the 28th April 2017. The day is to help promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases.

We’ve looked at some ways you can improve health and safety in your workplace to avoid serious injuries and accidents from happening, particularly where employees need to work at height.

There are many professions and organisations where it is necessary for employees to use ladders in order to undertake day to day tasks. Due to the nature of working at height, there are many dangers associated with using ladders.

If someone falls from a ladder they can sustain very serious, life-changing injuries, including head and brain injuries, and also injuries to their spinal cord. Other risks include broken bones and other serious complications.

Therefore, employers should follow guidance to reduce the risks of working at height. Not only that, but employees should be provided with training on how to safely use ladders and when they are appropriate to use.

Employers should consider:

  • What tasks the ladders will be used for and whether there is a more appropriate long term solution (e.g. constructing scaffolding).
  • How much weight will be on the ladders, including tools and equipment, as well as the weight of a person.
  • Ensure the correct ladders are supplied for the job (whether they are leaning ladders or step ladders).
  • Ensure the ladders are a suitable length to avoid employees stretching or leaning.
  • Make sure ladders are secured or tied in place when necessary.

When should I use a ladder?

Ladders should only be used when a full risk assessment has been undertaken that identifies they will only be used for a short period of time, and therefore a high level of fall protection is not justified. A ladder should also only be used if it can be level and stable; never use a ladder on unstable ground.

Who is allowed to use a ladder?

Only people who have been fully trained and instructed to use a ladder in a safe way should use one. This can include on the job training as long as they are supervised and the training and supervision are carried out by someone who has already had training.

Are there any things I can do to protect myself from risks?

There should also be an assessment of the ladder before use to check for any defects. This could be:

  • As people use the ladder.
  • At the beginning of the working day.
  • After the ladder has been moved or changed.

Spotting obvious defects on the ladder before use can prevent an accident from occurring.

Things to look out for include:

  1. Whether any of the stiles are bent or broken.
  2. Whether the feet are worn, damaged or missing to ensure adequate grip to stop the ladder slipping.
  3. Whether the rungs are bent, worn or missing.
  4. Ensure all locking mechanisms are present and in the correct position to avoid the ladder collapsing.
  5. Whether the platform on a step ladder is split, buckled or unstable.
  6. Whether the steps or treads are worn or slippery from another substance (e.g. rain water when outside).

If you have been unlucky enough to be involved in an accident involving a ladder and sustained a serious injury, we are here to help you. At Freeclaim, we have specialist solicitors who have many years’ experience helping people who have sustained a serious injury.

Their expertise is not just about getting you a lump sum of money, but also in ensuring you and your family receive the necessary support and treatment you need to help you to rebuild your life following a serious injury.

This service can include early access to bespoke treatment to aid your recovery, as well as helping with short-term needs, such as financial problems and benefit applications.

Speak to one of our specialist team today and start onto the road to recovery – call 0800 612 7340