Idiots On Ladders – And The Winner Is . . .

Idiots On Ladders – And The Winner Is . . .

27th January 2014

While January is a month when we all make resolutions for the coming year, it’s also a month when we get the opportunity to look back on the year just ended.  We can ponder the highlights of the year on the cold winter evenings and check out just what’s been going on in the world in the past 12 months.  As the media rounds up the previous year, some important information often comes to light and this is just as true in the construction industry as it is elsewhere.

Health and safety issues are a serious concern in many UK industries as we actively strive to make progress in ensuring that the UK is a safer place in which to work.  However, it’s January and it’s time to take a light hearted look at some of the safety issues that came to light over the past year.

The UK Ladder Association runs an annual “Idiots on Ladders” competition that aims to highlight the ‘worst examples of people carrying out work at height using ladders’.  2013 seems to have enjoyed its fair share of people doing crazy things with ladders.  Just take a look at the Ladder Association’s FaceBook page – click on the Photos tab and then on Albums.  One of (Not) Safety Laddersthe Albums here is titled ‘Idiots on Ladders 2013’ and there are some mind-boggling acts of stupidity by those using ladders in some of the most dangerous ways imaginable.

There is a man standing on top of two toolboxes that are balanced on a ladder – a surefire recipe for disaster.  A photo from Malta shows a guy working on a ladder on a balcony that has no safety rail – the balcony itself is barely wider than the base of the ladder.  Next up is a ladder tied on top of a ladder (both of the ladders are stepladders), a really precarious affair that’s being used to reach a high ceiling.

The next image is a great lesson on how not to use a ladder – the ladder is poking out of an upstairs window with a guy sitting on it painting the window frame (see photo) – this one really does beggar belief.  The images carry on, some of them show ladders being used both vertically and horizontally in strange and elaborate arrangements as people try to access hard to reach areas without the correct equipment.
A photo depicti(Not) Safety Laddersng a man propping a step ladder on the outside edge of the bannister protecting a stairwell is a great advertisement for “how not to use a ladder”  and this type of ladder use seems to be quite common – apparently last year’s competition attracted a similar image.  

The competition’s runner up prize was awarded to a photo taken in Bangkok.  The work area is in a busy street and has been carefully cordoned off using traffic cones.  An estate car is parked in place supporting a bamboo ladder that’s being used by a guy who appears to be working on traffic lights.   First prize for an Idiot on a Ladder 2013 goes to the picture on the right hand side here – two men working on a steep church roof.  One man is propping up an extended ladder which is being used to prop up  a second ladder with only the steep roof for support!  This is a most precarious position to be in – neither ladder is tied off and the bottom one is being held by the guy on the ground.