As falls from height remain the highest cause of workplace accidents, leading access equipment provider, WernerCo, is issuing a warning that anyone failing to follow correct procedures could face a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in the UK 40% of working at height accidents occur when using ladders and the majority of those happened when safe access had not been provided.
However, it’s not just personal safety that is put at risk. Recently a scaffolder was spared jail after not following the correct procedures when working 60ft up the side of a building. The court ruled that not only their personal safety was at risk but also that of the public.
Jamie Brassington, product manager at WernerCo, comments: “Although working at height is unavoidable in many industries, we are keen to promote safe practices when using access equipment. It may seem obvious that risk assessments and equipment checks be carried out prior to even setting one foot on a ladder, but thousands of accidents are still occurring every year.”
By also failing to safeguard employees who are using working at height equipment a company could be liable and face some hefty fines. Most recently a leading British supermarket chain was issued with a fine of £2.5 million after breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when a contractor was fatally injured due to a fall from height.
Brassington added: “At WernerCo we have done our best to address safety concerns by offering dedicated ladder training courses in conjunction with the Ladder Association and have introduced many safety features to our products, from EDGE® bracing to Lock-In Accessories meaning you can take fewer trips up and down the ladder.
“To ensure maximum safety choosing the correct equipment is paramount. Considerations should be placed into such things as load capacity, including the weight of the tools and materials being used to carry out the job, and the time spent working at height.”
To learn more about safe working at height practices WernerCo holds monthly training sessions for both users and inspectors. Both courses comprise practical and theory assessments, covering when and how to use, how to handle and how to store a ladder, as well as how to highlight potential hazards. For inspectors, delegates can learn how to assess and determine when it is appropriate to inspect a ladder or stepladder, and how to recommend the correct action if faults are found.