Worker died falling from unsafe ladder

A roofline products business has been prosecuted following the death of a worker who fell from a ladder while installing guttering on a house in Wales.

The HSE’s investigation found that the ladder provided by the company was in an extremely poor state, however it was accepted that this was not responsible for the worker's fall.  The court was told that there were a number of serious safety defects which had the potential to cause serious incident. These included the ladder's feet being worn through as well as bent and missing rungs, all making the ladder unfit for use. Two other ladders provided for use on the job had similar critical defects. 

The company's owner pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and was fined £4000 and ordered to pay £4000 in costs. The court also granted a Forfeiture & Destruction Order for the ladders.

Following the hearing the HSE Inspector said that although the death was not attributable to the ladder it was “in an appalling state and should never have been used.  All work equipment must be maintained in a safe condition for use and checked regularly for any damage. For ladders, a quick and simple visual check should be done to look for any obvious defects. The most common and critical issues are worn or missing feet and damage to the rungs and stiles which are very easy to spot.”

Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

Click here to read our latest Blog Post Ladder Safety, a Step in the Right Direction which looks at the issue of ladder safety