Accidents at Work in Scotland – How to Avoid Ladder Accidents
Falling from a height accounted for 40 fatalities in the workplace last year, meaning it’s more important than ever for employers to tackle the issue of unsafe ladder practices.
It’s the duty of your employer to provide you with adequate training in how to correctly use ladders and stepladders in the workplace. By doing this, you are made aware of the potential hazards of working from a height and can take the necessary steps to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.
You may not think that you are at risk of hurting yourself if you were to fall from a ladder – but it is possible to seriously hurt yourself by falling even a short distance. Therefore, ladder safety must be taken seriously by both employers and employees to avoid potentially life-threatening injuries.
What can I do to avoid ladder accidents at work?
Choose the right ladder
It may sound like an obvious suggestion, but many accidents at work in Scotland are caused by using equipment that isn’t right for the job at hand. If you need to use a ladder to complete a task, make sure it is one that is suitable.
Use a ladder that will reach the height you need comfortably; overreaching if you are using a ladder that is too small can cause you to lose your balance and take a nasty tumble from a height. Speak to your employer about using scaffolding or rope access for jobs that aren’t safely accessible by ladder.
It’s also important to make sure that the ladder you choose has the capacity to hold your weight, and the weight of any tools or equipment you may be handling. If the ladder can’t hold the weight, it could become unstable, causing you to fall and hurt yourself.
Check the ladder before use
Before you use the ladder, make sure you assess its condition. Ensure the rungs or steps are not bent or cracked, as these could collapse under you as you ascend the ladder. Make sure the treads on the steps aren’t worn – if they are, the grips on your footwear may not work effectively and could cause you to slip and fall. Speaking of grip – it’s also important to ensure that there are rubber stoppers on the bottom of the legs of a ladder. This rubber base reduces the chance of the ladder slipping on the ground, especially if it is propped against a wall. Finally, make sure the locking mechanism is working properly! If this is faulty, the ladder may collapse, potentially causing you harm. This simple assessment of the ladder before use can help you to avoid sustaining serious injuries in an accident at work.
Set up the ladder safely
It doesn’t matter what type of ladder you are using – making sure that you set it up on a clean, level surface is key. If the ground is too soft to support the combined weight of you and the ladder, look for a different access point where the ladder can be placed on a solid, even surface. If you are using a stepladder or a platform ladder, make sure it is fully open, and the side locks are secure before stepping onto it.
To protect other people in the area, cordon off a safe distance around the ladder to reduce the chance of colleagues and passers-by being injured in the event of an accident. People on the ground are in danger of being hit on the head by tools and equipment when someone is working up a ladder, so their safety must also be taken into account.
Wear the correct PPE
If you are using a ladder, make sure that you are wearing suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Donning the correct footwear is a must when using a ladder; wearing boots with a strong grip is essential to avoid slipping on the rungs or steps. Wearing a securely fastened safety helmet will also protect you from serious head injuries if you were to fall from the ladder in an accident at work.
Secure the ladder
Finally, as you ascend the ladder, make sure someone trained in ladder safety is standing at the base to hold the ladder in place. This person can maintain a grip on the ladder to help keep it steady as you climb – just make sure that they are wearing suitable protective gear, too!
How much compensation could you claim for a ladder accident at work in Scotland?
All accident at work claims are different. Many factors have to be taken into account, including the severity of your injuries, any rehabilitation costs and whether you’ve experienced a loss of earnings because of your accident.
How long does a personal injury claim take?
The length of the personal injury claim process can vary widely, from a couple of weeks to many years. Factors affecting the length of your claim may include
- the type of injury
- how the injury was sustained
- time taken to gather the evidence
- unknown identity of liable parties
- whether the guilty party accepts liability
Injured in an accident at work in Scotland?
If you have been injured in an accident at work in Scotland in the last three years, it may be time to speak to a Personal Injury solicitor. Watermans team offers straightforward legal advice, so you know where you stand in the process. Speak to us today by calling us on 0131 555 7055, or by filling out the form below.