A ladder is a key tool in many work environments. In an industrial environment, it becomes even more essential, as it helps workers complete their tasks as required. However, using ladders at a work site does come with its challenges and problems, and if you don’t have solutions in place, you could be compromising the safety of your employees or contractors. The threat of a fall is always present, which is why you should always prioritise the health and well-being of your workforce. In this post, we take a look at five reasons why ladder safety should be a top priority.
The number one case for ladder safety is that it creates a safe working environment for your staff. As we mentioned above, you should put the health and well-being of your workers above all else.
According to the “Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2018” report by Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 144 fatal accidents recorded at the workplace in 2017/2018. The lion’s share of these fatal accidents (35) resulted from a fall from height, which is almost three times the amount of fatal accidents that resulted from contact with moving machinery.
Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Now, consider the following statement from HSE:
“[An] analysis of 150 falls from height accidents investigated by HSE over three years indicated the following places from which workers fell:
Therefore, it is paramount to have the right kind of safety ladder installed at your work site. Consider training your contractors and employees to use ladders safely, so that they can reach and work from high points in a safe manner.
Ladder safety implemented according to the Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders guide from HSE will ensure you comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). For fixed access ladders, see the DIO safety alert: Inspection and Maintenance of Fixed Access Systems.
In this guide, HSE stipulates:
“The law says that ladders can be used for work at height when a risk assessment has shown that using equipment offering a higher level of fall protection is not justified because of the low risk and short duration of use; or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered.”
The first step to achieving a safe work environment is determining whether it is appropriate to use ladders in the first place, through conducting a thorough risk assessment and assessing any existing fall protection systems in place. If ladders are deemed necessary, fixed ladders need to be inspected on a routine basis, especially after (re)installation or modification. Annual ladder compliance inspections and re-certification are also recommended for safety access ladders in use.
Failure to comply with the WAHR can result in hefty fines and even legal action for business owners.
Proper implementation of ladder safety gives your business an extra layer of protection against potential liability. Your liability insurance may not provide the cover you need in the event of an incident — if it provides any at all — especially if you have been negligent. If you are covered, your annual premium will sky-rocket after your claim, and it could cause significant damage to your reputation — damage worse than any monetary setback you may suffer.
In 2015/2016 alone, the cost of work-related injuries was £5.3 billion, of which £1.6 billion was for fatal injuries. In order to minimise the risk of liability, make sure you:
Safety ladders offer flexibility when it comes to storage and access to various areas of your site. With proper ladder safety, your workers are able to reach the highest points, while you comply with safety codes and avoid preventable risks.
In a large warehouse, for example, you need to be creative in order to utilise the available space effectively. Pallets and racking equipment may be stacked for the efficient storage of products and ladder access will likely be required to fetch products easily and safely. Ladders installed for this purpose must keep in mind traffic through these crowded areas to ensure safety remains the number one priority.
When your workers feel that the company they work for takes safety seriously, they will be more likely to feel comfortable working for you. This will drive them to not only be more productive, but also to follow safety instructions and attend training sessions with more zeal.
A safe work environment is also conducive to morale. If your workers feel safe working together, they will enjoy working as a team. In fact, the reverse is also true — the ability of your employees to work collaboratively will result in them each paying more attention to the potential safety hazards around them.
In any event, both employer and employee must work together to keep the workplace safe. The end responsibility may lie with the employer, but an incident could result in the injury — or worse, the loss of life — of staff. A safe work environment, whether ladders are used or not, requires constant vigilance from all.
If you are looking for a comprehensive roof-safety solution, you need to consider the many fall hazards and consult the experts. High Access Solutions can ensure all areas are covered in a cost-efficient manner.
Contact us today on 0114 242 4811.
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