Assess the elevated risk of working at heights

Posted on 4th Mar, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham


A contracting firm in Edinburgh has been fined after an employee fell five metres while undertaking roof repairs.

The incident occurred in December 2012 when Kieran Thomson was repairing damage to the roof of an old joiner’s workshop at J Smart & Co PLC’s plant yard.

Mr Thomson was standing on the roof when he asked a colleague below to pass him up a ladder. After levering the ladder up on to the top of a scaffold pole, Mr Thomson walked backwards across the roof in order to be able to pull the ladder up. Catching his heel on a domed plastic roof light, Mr Thomson fell headfirst through it and five metres to the ground.

He struck his head on the table of an industrial floor-mounted bandsaw before landing on his side, and was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises over his head and body before being discharged later that evening. He was able to return to work four weeks later.

The Health and Safety Executive found that J Smart and Co PLC had neglected to carry out a risk assessment before the work began, and had failed to put in place any measures to stop workers from stepping on or falling through the roof lights, such as protective covers or barriers.

The company was fined £1,600 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Protect your business and staff from avoidable accidents

Any business that requires staff to work at heights needs to invest in Work at Height training from a reputable organisation.

Our Work at Heights training course can give staff at your company a thorough understanding of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Crucially, it also offers an overview of risk assessments relating to safe working at heights, which means that accidents like Mr Thomson’s can be avoided.

The course, which takes just half a day to complete, can be delivered to up to 12 delegates and covers:

  • The definition of ‘height work’
  • Accident causes in height work
  • Legislation applicable to height work
  • Planning and organisation of work at height
  • Identifying hazards in working at height
  • The merits of risk assessment & safety inspections

Reach those heights safely with regular ladder inspections

An important part of working at height is ensuring that your staff are supplied with safe, reliable and appropriate access equipment.

Here at Brown’s Ladders, we offer a regular ladder inspection service that will help your business to fulfil its legal obligations and keep its employees safe when working at height.

Our ladder inspections can be booked at 3, 6 or 12-monthly intervals depending on how frequently your equipment is used, and cover the inspection of all access equipment on your premises, from general ladders and steps to machine stairways, scaffold and work platforms.

For more information on our ladder inspection service or our in-depth Working At Height training courses, please contact a member of the team today.

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