“It will never happen to me” from a user’s perspective
When it comes to the use of ladders, the need to be trained in their safe use and inspection is a critical part of ensuring that those that use them do not put themselves or others at risk.
In addition to any formal recording of ladder inspections, the user of this equipment must inspect the equipment before it is used. This should not be a simple, cursory glance, or expectation that it will be ok, but a detailed study of the structure and safety features. It is also expected to consider the environment that it is being used in, as this may also draw your attention to less obvious hazards.
Complacency when using what is perceived by the user as a basic piece of work equipment such as a ladder can result in significant injuries and investigation costs, which was highlighted on a recent accident investigation when an individual fell a distance of 2m from an unsecured ladder causing multiple fractures.
With regard to the ladder, the rubber anti-slip feet were worn and did not provide any stop grip when in contact with the floor surface.
The investigation confirmed that the individual had received training for ladder use and inspection, but, the learning objectives had not been applied. If the individual had inspected the equipment, the condition of the rubber foot stops would have rendered the equipment as unsafe to use in its current condition.
There are training courses available to assist employers in ensuring that the appropriate information and industry practices are effectively communicated to the users of this equipment, unfortunately, this training is often perceived by a small number of attendees as a paper ticking exercise and that there is little value in them being trained in something they already know and have been doing for many years.
However, attendees realise very quickly that there is a great benefit from attending this training often learning previously unknown safe practices and inspection criteria.
Don’t be complacent, get the training and apply the learning objectives EVERY time you use the equipment, the skill YOU learn will protect YOU and anyone that may be affected by what YOU are doing.
(See the Ladder Exchange story)