If you are an employer, the safety of your workers is ultimately your responsibility. And this includes when they are using a ladder to work at height.
Now, some people may think otherwise and that when people are using a ladder, their safety is their own responsibility. However, this is far from the truth. So, if an employee of yours does fall from a ladder and injures themselves, what will happen to you? Can you be fined? Let's find out...
Did you know that one of the most common accident-at-work claims are from falls from a ladder? Well, they are. And this is because when an employer requires a member of staff to work at height using a ladder, it is crucial that they not only provide suitable equipment like a safe, reliable ladder but the correct training in how to use the ladder, whether that's before climbing up, whilst working on, or climbing down it. If neither or one of these things is missing, the employer then becomes liable.
What causes falls from a ladder?
There are to main reasons why someone would fall from a ladder. These are:
- Incorrect placement
- Using a ladder not fit for the job
Placing a ladder incorrectly
As an employer, you must ensure that any employer that requires a ladder to work at height is thoroughly trained in understanding the ways in which they make reduce the risk of the ladder slipping or tipping over and how to identify a safe location for the ladder to be placed.
Using an unfit ladder
Many workers that use a ladder on the job are often provided one that isn't of the correct height, leading them to overstretch to a distance that is unsafe and causing the ladder to tip. It is the duty of care from the employer to ensure that all employees using a ladder are educated on the three points of contact rule. This reminds employees that they must have either two hands and one foot, or one hand and both feet on the ladder at all times whilst they are working.
What happens if a fall from a ladder occurs?
If an employee falls from a ladder whilst working and you as the employer failed to provide sufficient training in safe ladder use or provided an unfit ladder, the employees can seek to claim for ladder accident compensation. The amount to which they can claim for, of course, will depend on the extent of their injuries but if they are able to prove employer negligence, then compensation may have to be paid.
Not only that but if it can be proven in court that an employer acted negligently in the lead up to a fall, further investigations may be carried out to determine whether any breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act of 1974 occurred. If so, then further fines may be issued.
Earlier this year, a London-based refurbishment company were fined £1.1m after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from height whilst using a ladder. After a five-week trial, they were found guilty of breaching regulations which led to the fall happening. After the trial was complete, HSE inspector John Berezansky, commented: “This case highlights the importance of taking reasonably practicable measures when planning and managing the risks regarding work at height".
So, in answer to the question, "will I be fined if my employee falls off a ladder" is yes - but only if sufficient evidence can be shown that proves negligence occurred. To avoid having to worry about being fined, however, it is best practice to ensure all members of staff are properly trained in how to use a ladder and to make sure all ladders that are used are fit for purpose.
If you believe the ladders that you currently use are not fit for purpose, you can browse our extensive collection and order one today!
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