Safety Ladders News Roundup – May, 2017

Safety Ladders News Roundup – May, 2017

31st May 2017

Ladder safety is an issue that gives cause for concern on a regular basis here in Britain. Safety Fabrications are dedicated to providing our customers with the safest equipment possible. Every month we scour the internet for news on ladders so that we can keep readers up to date with what’s going on in the world. If you have anything to add to any of the stories and have come across an issue that you’d like us to cover, please let us know either by email or comment on our Facebook Page or Twitter stream.

There’s a new kid on the block in the form of a ladder which has been designed to improve safety (and, therefore, save lives) at ports and public quay walls.  It’s called LifeLadder and the design has been patented by a Danish company called Port Safety.  The ladder was created to specifically address two particular problems – visibility and maintenance.  Traditional galvanised steel ladders are not visible in low light or dark conditions and they are prone to corrosion.  LifeLadder is fabricated from maintenance-free reinforced synthetic modules in a bright yellow colour to ensure visibility at night, aided by solar powered lights.

An Academy school in north London has been fined for breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR 2005) after a teacher fell and suffered multiple fractures to the skull, elbow and wrist while conducting rigging and adjustments to spotlights and cabling in the school’s drama studio.  It was revealed that the school had failed to provide teachers with the correct training for work at height of this type and that an inadequate risk assessment was carried out before the work was started.  According to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector, this incident could have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the light rigging task had been carried out and the teachers suitably trained to carry out the work.

Meanwhile, a video has emerged on LiveLeak showing a builder climbing up a flimsy ladder with a heavy steel girder on his shoulder.  His colleagues watched in horror as a co-worker on the roof tried to dissuade the man from carrying the girder on his own, saying “You’re going to hurt yourself”.  When the man reached the eleventh rung without the ladder breaking under the combined weight of man and girder, colleagues quickly pulled the girder away from him and onto the roof.  Commenters online are rightly claiming that the girder should have been winched onto the roof (with adequate protective measures in place, of course) as the video showed the ladder wobbling precariously as his colleagues issue a stream of warning which needed bleeping out! 

The importance of a rescue plan and adequate rescue training has been highlighted in a case in which a scuba diver working for a pearl company died off the north coast of Western Australia.  The experienced scuba diver got into trouble while diving and was pulled to the surface unconscious.  Then tragedy hit as the boat crew struggled to get him up the ladder because the deck was high.  The company director revealed that his company didn’t hold the recommended twice-yearly drills on retrieving incapacitated divers and that the delay in getting the diver on board (it was between 5 and 10 minutes between realising something was wrong and getting him on deck) was unacceptable.  He admitted that the company was wrongly focused on medivac and that the winch used to raise the shells on board should have been used to retrieve the diver.