Working at height: improvised solutions putting staff at risk

Posted on 25th Mar, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham


A caravan company in Bedfordshire has been fined this month after a shocking Health and Safety failure left a maintenance engineer injured by a fall from height on its premises.

A Health and Safety failure

The 30-year-old engineer was hurt after falling 1.5 metres from a make-shift elevated platform. As he attempted to reach tools needed for the job, the far end of the unsecured plank he was standing on swung up and struck him in the groin. As he fell to the ground, the engineer sustained a blow to the head, made worse by parts of the unsecured platform falling on to him.

While the worker did not appear to be severely injured at first, he collapsed some days later and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Since the accident, he has suffered from painful headaches and hip trouble.

Make-shift working at height solutions won’t do

The caravan company was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,527 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After investigating the case, the Health and Safety Executive concluded that the make-shift platform – comprising a wooden plank balance across a metal frame – had been “inherently unsafe” and “wholly unsuitable”, stating that the incident could have been easily avoided by the provision of proper working-at-height equipment.

Working at height: keep your standards high and your staff safe

If working at height is part of your business, it is your legal responsibility to keep your employees safe. It is your duty to provide staff with safe, suitable work at height access equipment such as platforms and ladders; you are also bound by Health and Safety legislation to ensure that staff who work at height as part of their job are adequately trained.

Here at Browns Ladders, we offer a wide range of training that will help you to fulfil your legal obligations and protect your workers. Our Work at Heights training course requires just four hours of your staff’s time and will keep them certified for working at height for three years.

Is your access equipment safe? Our health & safety training courses can help

It never fails to amaze us here at Browns that some companies persist in trying to make do with ‘make shift access equipment that could be putting their staff at serious risk on a daily basis. Not only is this highly irresponsible in terms of worker safety; it leaves businesses open to severe financial risk when something goes wrong.

A regular ladder inspection is the quick and easy answer to this kind of issue. Our ladder inspection service covers all kinds of access equipment, from standard ladders and steps to scaffold, work platforms and machine stairways. And if you bring all your access equipment to one place on site, our team of ladder inspection experts can work their way through up to 50 items at once.

Each item is marked with a next inspection date, and you can even book in for regular ladder inspections every three, six, nine or 12 months, so you can forget about them until next time.

Trust the experts: talk to Browns Ladders today

Here at Browns Ladders, we make it our business to keep your business safe. Our range of Health and Safety training courses will give you and your employees the skills you need to make good judgement calls, while our ladder inspections will ensure that your access equipment won’t let you down.

Talk to a member of the Browns Ladders team today: contact us by phone or email, or just use the instant chat function below.

Why do you think so many businesses still risk their staff’s Health and Safety? Share your views below or tweet us @BrownsLadders

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