A recent prosecution at Westminster Magistrates’ Court is a stark reminder of what is at stake when work at height is not properly planned and supervised.
Lanes Group PLC was fined £500,000, with £9,896.19 in costs, after pleading guilty to an offence under the Work at Height Regulations.
The court heard that a railway maintenance worker suffered injuries, including a broken collarbone, 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung after falling 4.3m from a ladder while cutting back vegetation.
Following the accident, the victim spent 13 days in intensive care during which time he underwent two major operations and now has metal plates pinning his clavicle and ribs. He has been unable to return to his former occupation.
The Office of Rail and Road investigation found that the site inspection had been inadequate, and work was neither properly planned nor appropriately supervised. As such, the contractor failed to realise that using ladders was inappropriate for the task and exposed workers to the risk of falling.
In response to this prosecution, the Ladder Association urged all ladder users and those responsible for managing the safe use of ladders, to put ladder training at the top of their work at height safety agenda.
Dennis Seaton of the Ladder Association said: ‘There are many situations where a ladder can be the right solution, but they shouldn’t automatically be your first choice.’
‘We strongly believe training is an important contribution in keeping people safe when working at height and that training is about more than just using the ladder; it’s about helping people understand when it’s right to use a ladder and even more so in this case, when it’s not right to use a ladder, choosing the right ladder and then understanding the simple steps to use your ladder safely.’
For further information on the safe use of ladders and working at height, please click here to learn more about our online training course, or contact Lauren Hill on 02920 853794 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.