With a radical overhaul of the standards governing the production and use of ladders due this year, there has never been a better time to brush up on your knowledge of that most unassuming of tools – the humble ladder.
A third of all falls from height in the workplace occur when using a ladder according to the Health and Safety Executive and within the construction industry it accounts for 45 per cent of fatalities each year. Businesses are also now seeing huge penalties as a result of accidents, with a £1 million landmark fine recently being issued to a bakery following the tragic death of a self-employed contractor who fell from a stepladder.
So with this renewed focus on ladder safety training within the sector, WernerCo, is urging all businesses to ensure that all employees or sub-contractors using work at height equipment are fully trained and competent to do so.
We attended a day course at Werner’s Maldon office, where Alastair Twigg from the Ladder Association was teaching local contractors the importance of regular ladder maintenance, of checking the ladder before each time you use it and also the need to have a good think about the job at hand before jumping up a ladder. The process of assessing whether a ladder is actually needed or not is perhaps the most important step towards reducing accidents with ladders.
Paul Bruton, Product Development Director at WernerCo, commented: “For construction professionals, working at height can often be a daily occurrence, and uptake of our ladder user training courses is good. Most people are surprised that ladder training is necessary after all, anyone can use a ladder, but using them safely is a different matter. As statistics for injuries and fatalities caused by falls from height show, all businesses need to ensure anyone working at height has not only the appropriate equipment but that they are also using it safely and correctly.”
In most cases, it is rarely the equipment that is at fault, and accidents will usually occur due to user error such as overreaching or not choosing the right equipment for the job in hand. By failing to address the fact that an accident may occur, businesses are putting themselves at risk of a serious fine or, in the worst-case scenario, being responsible for a fatality.
Paul continued: “We would urge all employers and businesses across manufacturing, processing and engineering sectors to ensure that anyone using ladders or stepladders has completed Ladder Association accredited training before tackling any job at height.”
Deaths from falls could be preventable and accredited training sessions such as the ones offered by WernerCo provide a focused environment to demonstrate proper safety techniques.
Paul added: “The half-day courses cost less than £100 so there really is no excuse for businesses not to find the time or money to send staff onto them, especially given the consequence of not doing so could prove fatal.”
WernerCo holds regular training sessions at both its Burton upon Trent and Maldon facilities, to provide the practical knowledge required to use ladders and stepladders safely and correctly in the workplace. Those who complete the course are issued with a LadderCard to demonstrate their competence when working with ladders. Courses comprise practical and theory assessments, covering when and how to choose and use, how to handle and how to store a ladder, as well as how to highlight potential hazards.
If you feel you or your employees could benefit from ladder training, call WernerCo on 01621 745800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.