Working at height can cause all sorts of risks, whether you are on a ladder, a platform or scaffolding. Your employer is responsible for your safety at work so what should you be looking for to make sure they are keeping you safe?
Your employer needs to ensure that all work is planned, supervised and that you are trained with the skills needed to carry it out.
They must also use the right equipment and make sure that it is in good working order. If you ever think that the equipment you have been given isn’t up to the job, don’t use it.
They also need to make sure that the work is entirely necessary. So often Accidents at Work occur because a job that wasn’t necessary was carried out by someone who wasn’t trained and using the wrong equipment.
If you think that the work isn’t necessary or should be carried out by someone who is properly trained, don’t do it.
What Your Employer Should and Shouldn’t Do
- Do as much work on the ground as possible.
- Make sure that you can get safely from the ground to where the work at height needs to take place.
- Make sure that all equipment is suitable and strong enough for the job and that it has been checked and maintained regularly.
- Provide you with appropriate and secure safety harnesses.
- Take extra precautions if you are working on or near a fragile surface.
- Provide you with protection from falling objects e.g. a hard hat or install netting above and below you.
- Brief you on emergency evacuation and rescue procedures.
Employers should not:
- Ask you to work on overloaded ladders. Anything that needs to be carried up with you to height should be easy to hold and not be over the weight that the ladder can carry.
- Tell you to stretch to reach anything. If something is out of reach the ladder or platform needs to be moved or a piece of equipment suitable to reach it should be used.
- Rest any ladders on weak surfaces such as glass or plastic guttering.
- Make you use ladders for long periods of time without allowing you time to rest. Ideally only 30 minutes at a time without a break.
- Allow anyone who is not fully trained, competent and confident at working at height to do so. If you are not happy working above the ground let them know. The same goes if you know a colleague isn’t trained or confident – it’s safer to say than risk your or someone else’s life.
Above all your safety is paramount. It’s ok to tell your employer that you are not comfortable with working at height or using inadequate equipment. It will save them a lot of time and money to not have injured workers so they should understand if you come to them with a concern.
If you have been injured whilst working on a ladder or at height and it wasn’t your fault your employer may be liable. If you would like legal advice the Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers specialise in work accident compensation and most claims are dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.
For a free consultation call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to assess how successful you work accident claim is likely to be.
Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Derby, Merseyside, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.