UK Ladder Safety Statistics
Fact: Falls from height are still the most common cause of fatal injury at work in the UK. Understanding what we can do to help reduce falls from height is one of the most important things we as a community can do.
In 2021/2022*, 29 fatal injuries were due to falls from height. Falls from height are still the most common cause of fatal injury, accounting for 24% of all such injuries. The main cause of all falls from height injuries is still people falling from ladders. About 30% of of self reported injuries involve slips, trips or falls. * Source, HSE and RIDDOR.
- Ladders – average 515 injuries per year
- Scaffold Towers – average 150 injuries per year
- Work Platforms – average 128 injuries per year
- Vehicles – average 85 injuries per year
- Staircases – 53 average injuries per year
- Fragile roofs – average 52 injuries per year
- Gangways/catwalks – average 39 injuries per year
The most common incidents involve over-reaching, over-balancing, equipment failure, misuse of equipment, unexpected movement (particularly where ladders are involved) and the failure of a fragile surface. Experience shows that these events usually arise due to poor management control rather than because of equipment failure.
A maintenance fitter lost his footing on the second rung of a ladder. His feet slipped through the rungs and he was killed when his head hit the floor as he fell backwards. A window cleaner sustained broken ribs, fingers and a broken arm when he fell 2.3 metres from his ladder whilst cleaning the windows of a show home on a new housing estate. The ladder was not secured or footed; the ground was dry but sloped gently away from the building. The construction company had not produced a method statement and the injured man had received no health and safety induction when he arrived on the site. (Courtesy of the HSE)
TB Davies can help provide more assured ladder and tower safety. Accidents are difficult to predict, but the correct use of the right equipment and approved safety training all help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries from working at height. An effective risk assessment of the work being carried out and the conditions of use will provide a good insight into the risks involved and the health & safety implications.
What is risk assessment?
Put simply, a careful examination of what could harm workers in their activities and what precautions can be taken to reduce/prevent such harm. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace.
What is a hazard?
Anything that may cause harm – electricity, overhead wires, working from ladders, chemicals etc.
What is risk?
The chance, high or low that someone will be harmed by the hazard.
The 5-step process
- Look for hazards
- Decide who might be harmed & how
- Evaluate the risks & decide whether existing precautions are adequate or you need to do more
- Record your findings
- Review your assessment and revise if necessary
There is legislation specifically concerning the health & safety of those using access equipment. The Working at Height Regulations 2005 are made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – the primary objectives of which are to ensure that all work at height is performed safely. The Ladder Association & HSE updated its Code of Practice, which contains more comprehensive guidance on the simple, sensible precautions you should take when using a ladder. In 2021, both Ladder Association and the HSE replaced INDG45 with an updated LA455 Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders, a completely revised document for assessing risks when using Ladders and Stepladders.
WAHR 2005 requires:
- Safe systems of work for organising & performing work at height
- Selecting suitable work equipment to perform work at height
- Eliminating risks working at height
- Preventing falls from work at height
- Protecting those who perform work at height
Get Trained to Work at Height Safely
TB Davies is an approved training centre, accredited by both The Ladder Association and PASMA to conduct training courses. We also deliver training at your workplace, across the UK. Some of our regular courses are delivered to clients including Welsh Water and Cardiff University. For more details about training courses or further help with understanding ladder safety, please contact our team. TB Davies is also a proud supporter of the American Ladder Institute #LadderSafetyMonth initiative.