Fall from ladder results in fine of £24,000

Recent Safety Case – Fall from ladder results in fine of £24000

Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust was sentenced after a worker fell from a ladder. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how the injured person was using an unsecured ladder at the School to dismantle a canopy roof when the ladder slipped, causing the worker to fall and sustain fractures to his face, a fractured femur and other injuries.


The HSE investigation

An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the School did not have a risk assessment or safe system for dismantling the canopy roof which resulted in the work being conducted unsafely.

The need for a risk assessment and method statement being fundamental documents that make up the safe system of work that is to be implemented, without this the work was not adequately planned which is a contravention of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

No assessment was made as to the fragility of the roof before accessing it, suitable equipment was not provided, the injured person was not trained and the work was not supervised. Quite simply a series of failings that in different circumstances could have easily resulted in a fatality and a prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

The HSE investigation also found that other work at height at the School was also carried out without specific planning, supervision and was not carried out safely. Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,446.


Working from height most common cause of work-related fatalities in the UK

Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.

New ladder safety guidance has been jointly produced by the Ladder Association and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Released in July 2021, the guidance replaces the HSE Guidance Document INDG455 of the same name.


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