Last week, a question was raised in the House of Commons on ladder safety by Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central. Maskell submitted a written question, ‘To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP), what steps she is taking to improve the safety of people who use a ladder as part of their job.’
To which the reply came from Mims Davies MP for Mid Sussex (No relation):
“The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) leads on the prevention of falls from height, including from ladders, in Britain’s workplaces.
As a significant cause of workplace death and injury, the prevention of falls from height has been a key area of focus for HSE and the recently published HSE Plan of Work for 2021-22 states that ‘We will continue to tackle long-standing problems, such as… falls from height’ underlining HSE’s on-going commitment to addressing this significant workplace issue.
The costs to Britain arising from workplace fatalities and self-reported injuries and ill health is substantial, with the cost of workplace injuries alone being £5.6bn in 2018/19. The costs arising specifically from falls from ladders has not been evaluated, but a wider analysis, considering the cost of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related Ill Health in 2018/19 is published on the HSE webpages.
HSE figures show a steady reduction in the number of workplace fatalities and major injuries relating to falls from height over recent years, with fatal injuries reducing from 42 in 2014/15 to 29 in 2019/20, and the number of non-fatal injuries from 6,165 in 2014/15 to 5,214 in 2019/20 (provisional figures are given for 2020). HSE publishes a summary of statistics for “health and safety at work in Great Britain 2020” on the HSE website.
To further reduce accidents involving ladders in Britain’s workplaces, HSE staff continue to raise work at height issues as a matter of priority during site visits to conduct inspections and investigations, taking enforcement action including prosecutions where necessary. HSE also provides information, advice and guidance on ladders via its website and across a wide range of communication channels. HSE are working in collaboration with the Ladder Association to publish an updated suite of guidance that covers new types of ladders and is aligned to the latest standards for safe use. A free webinar with industry experts and HSE on safe ladder use and to announce the new guidance is scheduled for 15 July 2021. HSE also continues to work with trade associations and other stakeholders – such as the Access Industry Forum to promote and communicate safe working at height practices across industry.”