We've written in the past about ladder safety, particularly how to use ladders and stepladders properly so you can imagine our shock when we saw this.
Where do we start, not only is the ladder balanced precariously, it's a wooden ladder, and the person's clearly not heard about 3 points of contact. In fact the whole photograph goes against legal requirements and guidelines on how to work safely with ladders.
Legally, ladders can be used for work at height only when a risk assessment has shown that "using equipment offering a higher level of fall protection is not justified because of the low risk and short duration of use; or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered."
The HSE's guide on the Safe use of ladders and stepladders says that ladders should only be used in situations where they can be used safely, for example where the ladder will be level and stable - clearly not the case here. It also goes on to say that where it is reasonably practicable to do so, the ladder can be secured.
The Importance of Ladder Training
Anyone using a ladder must be competent, which means they should have had proper training and instruction, and should understand how to use the equipment safely. If the user is being trained then they should be supervised by someone who is competent.
We may laugh when we see photographs like this and marvel at how anyone could believe that they're working safely, but the truth is people like this are extremely lucky if they don't fall or have a serious accident. It is estimated that there are over 2 million ladders used daily in the UK and that over a third of all fall from height incidents involve ladders and stepladders.
If a ladder or stepladder are being used, then companies have a duty to ensure those using the equipment are competent to use the ladder or stepladder and that the equipment being used is suitable for the task. Companies must also organise, plan and supervise the work appropriately.
If you are, or are planning to use a ladder or stepladder and need to discuss safe use, please call us on 01767 691812 or email: [email protected]