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News / School fined for stepladder fall

3 May 2017

A school has been fined for breaching work at height regulations after a teacher fell from a stepladder while working on rigging and lighting in the school’s drama studio.  A fellow teacher who was working with the victim, turned around to find him unconscious on the floor.  The teacher suffered multiple fractures to the skull, wrist and elbow as a result of the fall.

During the hearing, the court heard that the school had carried out a work at height risk assessment in the drama studio, but it was inadequate and, although he school’s health and safety policy covered training, teachers undertaking the work had not been trained adequately to work at height. The school also had a health and safety e-learning tool available for staff to use, which included a module on work at height, but this was only made compulsory after the incident.

As a result, the school was fined for breaching Regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £2,000 with costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector commented that:

“If the school had conducted a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the light rigging task and ensured that employees undertook the appropriate information, training and instruction available this incident could have been prevented.”

According to the HSE, it is estimated that over two million ladders are used daily in the UK and over a third reported fall from height incidents involve ladders and stepladders.  

As this case shows, stepladders are no different to any other type of work at height equipment, if your staff need to use a ladder or stepladder to carry out tasks around the workplace, then you have a duty to ensure that they have adequate information and training to be able to use them safely

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