Ladder Un-Safety Stories – News Round-Up

Ladder Un-Safety Stories – News Round-Up

10th February 2014

Despite the UK Health and Safety Executive’s ongoing campaign to encourage people in the UK to use ladders safely, we still see news reports on a weekly basis covering incidents of injuries sustained as a result of a fall from a ladder.

This week’s news roundup of accidents involving ladders begins with the sorry tale of a window cleaner in Taunton.  40 year old Jon Richardson fell 2.5 metres from the top rung of the ladder he was using to clean an upstairs window.  The ladder slid from underneath him and Jon was headed stomach first for some spiky railings below.  Quick thinking Jon managed to get his foot out in time and avoid the spikes hitting his stomach.  However, one of the spikes went through his right foot and fire-fighters had to cut him free with the spike still embedded.  He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to have the spike removed and now faces six weeks off work while his foot heals.

A 21 year old builder in Edinburgh was working with his dad when a make-shift staircase providing access to the basement from the ground floor collapsed.  He fell 9ft onto a concrete floor and, to add insult to injury, the ‘ladder’ fell on top of him.  Fire crews were called out to rescue him and he was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he was treated for a dislocated wrist and elbow.

In Llanelli in Wales fire-fighters driving through the Llwynhendy part of town witnessed an elderly man falling from a ladder.  The fire crew stopped and gave immediate first aid and the gentleman was then taken to hospital with minor head injuries.

A Skelmersdale building firm hit the news this week when it was fined £105,000 and ordered to pay £64,000 court costs after a roofer was paralysed in a fall from a ladder.  The subcontractor was employed to work on homes in Southport in January, 2011 and was asked to remove cement sheets from a roof.  However, he was unable to use the chute to feed the rubble into a skip as the material contained asbestos and a separate disposal method was needed.  The subcontractor therefore had to carry 10kg bags of asbestos down a ladder on his shoulder, leaving only one hand free to hold onto the ladder.  The roofer lost his balance and fell backwards onto a truck parked next to the scaffolding and then hit the ground.  The 50 year old roofer will now need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

To cheer things up a little, our next story involves a ladder to the rescue, rather than a ladder being unsafe.  Police and fire rescue crews were called to a garden centre in Hassocks to help a woman who was locked in the car park.  They used a ladder in order to carry out the rescue and the woman went on her way none the worse for wear.