Minimise the risks with Working at Heights courses

Posted on 19th May, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham


A Solihull-based scaffolding contractor has been fined £5,000 for a breach in Health and Safety regulations after a workplace accident involving ladders left an employee seriously injured – and needing to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The employee, 49-year-old Craig Shakespeare, fell from a ladder as he was attempting to support theatrical scenery with scaffolding. Officials investigating the case noted that while equipment for safe working at heights was made available to the company, it was not used.

Swan Scaffolding Contractors Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge of breaking the Working at Height Act 2005. Alongside the fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of £535 and a victim surcharge of £500.

Companies continue to risk employee health

The case is yet more worrying evidence that companies continue to put their employees’ lives at risk – a point reiterated by the HSE inspector Edward Fryer:

“The danger of using ladders should not be underestimated. This is another example of serious injuries being sustained where other access equipment could have been used instead.”

Fryer noted that the correct equipment for this task was a tower scaffold or an elevated work platform, and also that the greater problem lay with the staff’s insufficient training for safe working at heights.

“As a scaffolding company, Swan Scaffolding should be experts in access and working at height. They know it is a high-risk activity, and they should know what measures to put in place to keep workers safe.”

Without recognising the importance of safe working at heights training, accidents like this are likely to continue to happen in the future – with tragic consequences for the lives of employees.

Protect your staff with our Working at Heights training courses

If you’re an employer involved in working at heights, then it is imperative you comply with Health and Safety regulations by providing a safe workplace for your employees.

Our Working at Heights course provides a solid overview of what’s involved when working with ladders and scaffold towers. Participants on the course will cover the following areas:

  • What we think of as ‘height work’.
  • How to identify the causes of accidents at work.
  • What legislation applies to working at heights.
  • What elements are significant when we plan to work at heights.
  • How to identify hazards when working at heights.
  • Why risk assessments and Health and Safety inspections are vital to a safe workplace.

The course itself is four hours long and can be easily timetabled during the working week. You also can pair the Working at Heights Training course with another of our accredited training courses on safe working – for example, our Ladders and Steps Training course – as staff will be able to complete both courses in one day.

Browns Ladders’ Working at Heights courses will cover employees for four years, providing you the peace of mind to know your employees are protected in the workplace.

We have a dedicated customer service team standing by so if you are interested in any of our safety training courses, get in touch with Browns Ladders today.

Have you been on one of our Working at Heights courses? Tell us how it helped you in the comments or tweet us @BrownsLadders!

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