Safety Ladder Training for Businesses in the UK

Safety Ladder Training for Businesses in the UK

26th May 2016

The term “safety ladder” may seem like a bit of a misnomer when you consider that there are about 15 fatal accidents and nearly 4,000 major injuries every year in the UK that involve a safety ladder.  Here in the UK, small to medium enterprises represent 99% of all businesses – there are more than 5 million of them and most businesses own at least one ladder.  Whether the ladder is used on a daily basis or just for the odd task of changing a lightbulb, accessing equipment on high shelving or other occasional tasks, it’s vital that all business owners are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to duty of care of the workforce. 

It’s the responsibility of the business owner to provide safety training for those who climb ladders – whether it’s a regular part of the job or an occasional activity once or twice a year.  It’s vital that you never let an employee use a ladder in the workplace unless they have undertaken the requisite ladder safety training. 

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 states that corporate manslaughter is a crime that’s committed by a company in relation to a work-related death.  The Act was implemented in April 2009 and affects every business here in the UK regardless of size of number of employees.  The Act means that organisations can be prosecuted when a safety failure is the cause of a work-related death.  A jury deliberates how the fatal activity was managed or organised by the organisation and considers any systems or processes in place for managing safety and how these were carried out in practise.

There is a Duty of Care in respect to Working at Height and the access equipment that is used by employees.  Any business owner or manager found guilty of a work related injury or death may be ordered to:

·         Pay an unlimited fine

·         Take remedial action within a specified period

·         Publicise full details of their conviction

Accidents involving a ladder are all too common and the cause is often quite simple.  The ladder may slip or tilt at the top or slip outwards at the base.  In many cases, a component of the ladder (such as a rung or even one of the non-slip feet) may fail due to poor condition (this is why regular maintenance and a pre-use safety inspection is vital when using ladders).  Gravity means that the only way to go is down and, while the fall itself doesn’t usually hurt, impact with the ground almost certainly will in every case.

There are plenty of training courses available to ensure that companies can arrange for any staff members who use ladders to undergo the requisite training.  Whether ladder use is an integral part of the day to day job being done by employees or occasional use to carry out maintenance and cleaning activities, there is a course available to suit every type of business.  Making sure your employees who use ladders and other access equipment are trained is part of your Duty of Care as a business owner or manager.