Ladder Accident: Reducing The Risk


The Law Of… Avoiding A Fall From Height

A fall from height can cause serious personal injury and is often the result of a ladder accident. According to the Health and Safety Executive statistics, a fall from height made up a quarter of all the fatal injuries at work reported in 2015/2016.

Slips, trips and falls specialist, Lisa Wright investigates how simple health and safety precautions can save you from a ladder accident, and explains how you can claim for compensation if you have been involved in a ladder accident.

How Does A Ladder Accident Happen?

There are some jobs that pose more risk to our health and safety and those jobs that require work at height pose a quite obvious risk for workers. It is a common belief that ladders are banned under health and safety law, but this is not the case. In fact, they can provide a low risk, sensible and practical solution for tasks at work. Sadly, falls from heights are still common in the UK.

Some of the more common reasons for a ladder accident include:

  • Not checking the ladder for defects before beginning use
  • Over-loading
  • Over-reaching
  • Holding items whilst climbing/descending

There are some jobs where the use of a ladder is much more likely and therefore a ladder accident might be more common. It is important for those in a job where a ladder is a prominent tool for everyday tasks to inform themselves on the correct and safe use of ladders.

How Can I Prevent A Ladder Accident?

One of the best places to seek guidance on health and safety at work is the Health and Safety Executive website. They have produced a guide on how to safely use ladders and stepladders.

Some of their advice when using a ladder includes:

  • Only carry light materials and tools
  • Don't overreach
  • Ensure locking devices on the ladder you are using are engaged
  • Try to make sure the ladder is facing the work you are carrying out, rather than side on
  • Make sure that you have 3 points of contact with the ladder. This will usually be two feet and one hand. If both hands are need for the task, use your body as another point of contact
  • Avoid holding items when climbing (a tool belt could help with this)
  • Make sure the ground the ladder is placed on is firm and level
  • Make sure the area is clean of any liquids and of loose material
  • Where vehicles are likely to pass, use cones or barriers.

What Other Reasons Are There For Ladder Accidents?

Many ladder accidents occur because the equipment in use is faulty. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure than any stepladder or ladder is suitable for the jobs you need to carry out and is in a safe condition.

For your own peace of mind, only use a ladder when:

  • They have no visible defects. Check at the beginning of every working day.
  • They have an up-to-date record of visual inspections carried out by the designated health and safety officer.
  • They are suitable for the task you wish to carry out.
  • They have been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Look out for:

  • Twisted, bent or dented stiles
  • Missing or damaged tie rods
  • Damaged joints
  • Cracked, worn or bent rungs

Claiming For A Ladder Accident

There are many risks involved when a ladder accident occurs. Falling from a height over 2 metres, will usually incur a serious injury. There is also the risk that objects will fall from the ladder and hit people below.

It is often people who work in construction and maintenance who find they work around ladders and therefore risk an accident.

Common jobs where ladder accidents occur include:

  • Painters and decorators
  • Window cleaners
  • Builders
  • Roofers
  • Road transport

If you have suffered a ladder accident and sustained injuries that were caused by the negligence of another, you are entitled to claim compensation. If the ladder you used had any defects that weren't picked up in an inspection, or you weren't made aware of, you could be eligible for monitory compensation.

Compensation for a ladder accident can go towards an effective and speedy rehabilitation program and can make life easier post-injury, particularly if you have suffered from life-changing injuries as a result of a fall from height.   

How Can Simpson Millar Help You With A Claim For A Ladder Accident?

Ladder accidents are common and can sometimes be the fault of your employer. If this is the case, our Personal Injury lawyers can help you. If you would like to claim accident at work compensation, our solicitors can provide you with impartial advice on what to do next.

Lisa comments:

"A fall from height can be quite devastating. It can cause serious and life-changing injuries and can sometimes affect a person's mental health as they come to terms with what's happened."

"If your fall was caused by the negligence of another, you are within your rights to claim for damages and compensation can go a long way towards an effective and speedy recovery."

"If you have been in a ladder accident, it's wise to take pictures after the incident, if possible."

"Always report any defective equipment you need for your job. Reporting health and safety issues in the beginning can prevent serious injury in the future."

If you have been involved in a ladder accident or a fall from height, call our Personal Injury Team for a free over-the-phone consultation.

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