How Can Employers Prevent Ladder Accidents at Work?

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Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

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If you have to climb a ladder as part of your employment, there are many different health and safety rules that your employers must follow in order to reduce your chances of falling off the ladder and suffering a serious injury. These include:

  • Providing adequate training to staff
  • Carrying out risk assessments
  • Making sure equipment is properly maintained
  • Providing adequate protective equipment, such as helmets

However there are times when an avoidable accident at work does happen - an incident that could have been prevented if just a few extra precautions had been taken.

If an employer was negligent and failed to keep you safe at work resulting in you becoming injured in a ladder accident, you could be entitled to claim compensation for the injuries you sustained as a direct result of this accident.

Here at Simpson Millar, our team of expert Serious Injury Solicitors deal with similar cases on a daily basis. We can help if you get in touch with our team of Serious Injury Solicitors for a claims assessment and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you. We usually act on a No Win, No Fee basis – just ask us for details about this. Once we have assessed your claim, we will be able to provide you with advice on the prospects of success in your case. If we believe that you have a good chance of being successful in a claim for personal injury arising from an accident which occurred at work, we will let you know and we can then talk you through the rest of the claims process.

We appreciate that the prospect of proceeding with a personal injury claim can seem daunting or intimidating, especially if you’ve never been through the process before. That’s why we’re here to help and provide you with advice every step of the way. We believe that no one should be injured when they go to work but if it happens to you, we are here for you and we want to help.

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Who is Most at Risk of Ladder Accidents?

Ladder accidents can happen to variety of different types of people in many different occupations, such as:

  • Warehouse staff
  • Shop workers
  • Builders
  • Roofers
  • Electricians
  • Plasterers
  • Painters
  • Window glaziers
  • Aerial fitters
  • Engineers

A fall from any height can be dangerous and a fall even from a step ladder can result in a serious injury. But if you fall a great distance from a longer ladder, you could be left with life-changing injuries, such as multiple fractures, spinal injuries and head injuries. Sadly, these types of injury can have a long lasting effect on your body, mental wellbeing and your day to day life. It may prevent you from returning to work at all or it may mean that you are no longer able to do the job that you once did.

Our Serious Injury Solicitors are dedicated to helping people who have been injured through no fault of their own in order to get the care, support and rehabilitation they need. This means that they’re in the best possible position to rebuild their lives by getting the help and support that they need to be able to do this . Change can be difficult for anyone – especially such a substantial change that can impact many different aspects of your life in ways that you may not have expected or even considered before.

How Common are Ladder Injury Deaths?

The latest Health and Safety Executive statistics on fatalities from ladder accidents highlights the severity of the problem.

Of the 135 fatal injuries in accidents at work in the years 2022 to 2023, nearly 30% of fatal injuries were falls from height - on average 40 fatal accidents a year.  Over half of these fatal accidents happened in the construction industry. 

However, that’s not the only industry that can be affected by falls from height – far from it, in fact. As an example, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), falls from ladders are the most common type of accident involving a fall from height in the UK in just the food and drink industry alone, making up 40% of all accidents where a fall from height as occurred. In fact, falls from height generally in the food and drink industry alone are the third highest cause of fatal injuries in the workplace, making up 20% of all fatal accidents in the UK.

The HSE has confirmed that falls from all heights can result in serious or even fatal injuries, even when those falls are from heights or less than 2 metres. In addition to this, falls from height can result in around 80 major injuries, including but not limited to broken limbs and fractured skulls each year with 230 individuals requiring to be absent from work for over 3 days every year as a result of this.

Due to statistics like this, the Ladder Association has called for more to be done to prevent falls from height in the workplace, stating that although fatal falls from height have decreased, it is still not enough. They reported that in the years 2016 to 2017, fatal falls from height had decreased by a massive 32% however this is likely to be little consolation for those individuals who were sadly killed due to a fall from height which occurred in their workplace. In fact, the Ladder Associated have estimated that there are, on average, over 2 fatalities every month in the UK which have resulted from a fall from height during an accident which occurred in the workplace. This is over 2 times every month that a family are left devastated by the loss of their loved one to an accident which was entirely preventable, not to mention the friends and colleagues that are left behind.

Comments Chair of the Ladder Association, Martin Brooke has said:

“Trade and industry associations, like the Ladder Association, have a crucial role to play in helping to reduce these preventable deaths through the development of standards and guidance and the delivery of industry knowledge and training.”

“We must never forget that these are not simply numbers, but people whose lives have been cut short. There is no room for complacency. Safety costs, but with fines for breaking health and safety rules increasing, accidents cost a lot more… for everybody!”

What Safety Measures Should Be Taken?

Depending on the type of work being carried out, safety measures should include:

  • Training staff on the safe use of ladders to ensure that all employees know how to use each ladder in a safe and appropriate way
  • Completing regular risk assessments to identify all risks which are present in the workplace before then identifying ways in which these risks can be mitigated and implementing these in the workplace
  • Carrying out a work at height risk assessment to identify all of the risks of working at height and identifying ways to reduce this risk to the lowest practicable level to allow these to be implemented accordingly
  • Considering choosing any alternatives to using a ladder where possible, such as, but not limited to, things like a working platform or a cherry picker
  • Regularly inspecting and maintaining all ladders in the workplace
  • Displaying the weight load limits on the ladder to allow employees to see how much weight can be put on every individual ladder
  • Making sure employees don’t overload or overreach when using the ladder, including ensuring that employees do not use the top step of a ladder and that they can always maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder throughout their task
  • Providing safety equipment including equipment such as, but by no means limited to, a safety harness, appropriate footwear and a hard hat

Until all employers have taken these steps to prevent ladder accidents occurring in the workplace, unfortunately employees remain at risk of injury. If you’ve suffered a fall from height at work and believe your employer was at fault, get in touch with our Serious Injury Solicitors on 0808 239 3227 or click here to request a call back.


Ladder Association. (2023). Falls from Height Continue to Fall...But Not Enough, Says Ladder Association. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(n.d.). Ladders. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(2023). Fatal injuries in the workplace. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(n.d.). Work at height. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 02/12/2023)

(n.d.). Falls from vehicles in the food and drink industries. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

Amy is a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice within our Personal injury department, based in our Manchester office.

She helps clients who have sustained injuries resulting from accidents at work and accidents in public places to recover compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

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