19 Feb 2010

A ladder inspection could have saved this man's life.

Another accident involving a ladder, another unnecessary death, another family left in turmoil. When will employers and employees learn the importance of a simple pre-use inspection of their workplace equipment? For as little as £0.23 the Good to Go Safety system would have highlighted the missing rubber feet on the ladder and possibly prevented this accident from ever occuring. A small price to pay for the safety of others. 

It is sad and frustrating to read the steady stream of prosecutions of companies who simply bury their head in the sand when it comes to equipment safety. Assumption that equipment is safe because someone used it yesterday without incident is commonplace and all too often it takes an accident such as this before preventative action is taken. If your employees are using ladders, scaffolding, MEWPs, forklifts, scaffold towers, harnesses please make sure they are trained and competent to use it, and that they buy into the importance of a pre-use check. You could be saving their life in doing so. For details on our ladder inspection systems please click here.

Ladder incident leads to prosecution

A Bolton house-building company has been fined £7,500 after one of its workers fell to his death.

DC Kennedy Homes Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after Ian Smith, 64, was killed when he fell from an unstable ladder.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Smith was working on a project to build six new semi-detached houses in Dale Gardens, on Easedale Road in Bolton, on 19 December 2007 when he fell five metres to the ground.

HSE’s investigation found that DC Kennedy Homes had allowed work to be carried out on the first and second floors of the house, before the stairs had been fitted. The ladder, which was used to reach the second floor, had not been secured and was missing its rubber feet.

DC Kennedy Homes, of Ladybridge Lane in Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure Mr Smith’s safety. The company was ordered to pay an additional £7,500 towards the cost of the prosecution as well as the fine.

Polly Tomlinson, HSE Principal Inspector for Greater Manchester, said:

“This was a tragic incident that could easily have been prevented if DC Kennedy Homes had put more thought into the safety of its employees.

“The ladder Ian Smith used was dangerous as the rubber feet were missing and it wasn’t tied to the wall to stop it slipping.

“But more importantly, Mr Smith should never have been expected to use a ladder in the first place. If the work had been planned properly, the stairs would have been fitted before work was carried out on the first and second floors of the house.

“Instead Mr Smith had to use a ladder to access the second floor, putting his life at risk. Other employees were also put in danger by the unprotected open edges.

“I hope this case will act as a warning to other house building companies to improve their safety standards, to prevent more people dying at work in the future.”

Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in the UK, and more information on preventing injuries is available at Shattered Lives

Transcript Source:
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence).

The HSE’s national Shattered Lives campaign was launched on 1 February, and urges companies to take simple steps to prevent serious injuries from slips, trips and falls.

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