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Ladder Association responds to recent ladder and scaffold incident

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Ladder Association responds to recent ladder and scaffold incident

The Ladder Association was shocked to see footage of a recent accident, caught on a driver’s dashcam, involving two men falling from a scaffold tower and ladder in Buckingham, UK.

It was nothing short of a miracle that the men appear to have escaped serious injury, or even worse, as they plummeted to the ground when the ill-planned structure toppled onto a busy road, narrowly missing a passing car.

It’s clear from the video being widely circulated across the media, that the men cobbled together an extremely dangerous ‘solution’ of placing a ladder on top of a mobile access tower to gain access to the building’s gutters. There was nothing whatsoever safe about their set up; poor planning, poor choice of equipment, unsafe use, and complete disregard for their own safety and that of the public.

The avoidable incident again highlights the need to properly plan work at height, carry out a risk assessment, choose the right equipment for the task, and be competent to use it safely.

The Ladder Association would never condone the use of a ladder in conjunction with another form of access equipment to gain additional height. We urge everyone who works at height to carry out a thorough risk assessment before commencing work, using the STEP methodology – Site, Task, Equipment, People.

Ladders can be a sensible and practical option for low risk and short duration tasks, but they shouldn’t automatically be your first choice. The law states 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.

Falls from height are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities and injuries in the UK – accounting for 40 fatalities and over 5,000 employer-reported non-fatal injuries in 2022/23* – with many injuries having life-changing consequences for the victim and their families.

* Source: RIDDOR – Kind of accident statistic in Great Britain, 2023