A builder has been fined nearly £30,000 after a worker died following a step ladder fall.
The self-employed worker was carrying out construction work for the builder when he fell from an unsecured step ladder. The Crown Court was told that the worker was using the step ladder to reach the first floor of a two storey extension from the ground. He was carrying a bucket of mortar up the ladder to the first floor, which was accessed by a gap in the flooring between joists, when he fell from the ladder and suffered fatal head injuries. The subsequent investigation found that the step ladder was too short to reach the first floor.
The HSE told the court that the incident could easily have been avoided but the builder failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and failed to plan and supervise work at height appropriately.
Following the hearing the HSE inspector commented that the failure by the builder to comply with his legal duties of care on site led to the worker suffering fatal injuries. “The potential for this was always present. All employers need to ensure that risks from height are fully considered. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall so far below the required standards.”
When used correctly, ladders can provide a safe means of access, however in this case a step ladder clearly wasn’t the right equipment for the work. Before any form of work at height is carried out it’s essential that a risk assessment is carried out to determine how the work is to be undertaken and to determine what equipment is required to do the work safely.
Easi-Dec offers a range of accessories and innovative safety solutions to overcome many of the inherent dangers of working from ladders and can advise you on the most suitable equipment when working at height.
See our Blog Ladder Safety a Step in the Right Direction for an overview of how to ensure work on ladders can be carried out safely
Additional advice and information about safe use of ladders can be found on the HSE website.