Working with ladders

Debbie AnstisPosted 21 September 2017 By Debbie Anstis, Health & Safety Consultant In Health & Safety

We all do that occasional job in the office that needs a ladder, such as changing a light bulb, reaching a file, or fixing that damn blind that has become detached….but do we really think these things through?

Recently, the Queen Elizabeth Girls School in Barnet was fined when a teacher checking school lights fell from a step ladder. He suffered multiple fractures to his skull, wrist and elbow from the fall.

As a result of the HSE investigation, the school’s management system was found to be inadequate, both in its risk assessments and management of the task.

So how, as a business, can we avoid this issue when working at heights?

1. Plan the task first – can working at heights be avoided, can the project be done in a better way?
2. If a short duration low risk task, staff can proceed but ensure they have had instructions on how to use that type of ladder, and complete a pre-use check
3. If you do need to work at heights
        a. Check that all 4 feet of the step ladder is on the ground
        b. Only carry light tools and materials
        c. Don’t over reach
        d. Don’t stand on the top three steps without suitable handholds
        e. Ensure the locking device for the ladder is engaged
        f. Try to position the stepladder to face the work activity
        g. Maintain three points of contact on the stepladder
4. Always ensure that your staff are trained to use the equipment correctly
5. Always ensure that any ladders you use are inspected and checked on each use.

To discuss this or anything else please contact Debbie Anstis on 01793 818300 or send her an email.


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