Ladder safety: £34k fine after worker fell from ladder

A worker who fell six metres from a ladder sustained multiple fractures to the neck, back, ribs, and hip, plus head injuries and a collapsed lung.

On 4 April 2017, the contractor who was working on converting a barge from a commercial vessel into a luxury house-boat, but fell from a ladder erected at the back of the vessel. The ladder provided unsafe access onto the boat and whilst descending, it twisted causing him to fall six metres onto the floor of the dry-dock. A gangway which would have provided safe access was available in the boatyard but had not been fitted because of time pressures. The contractor has not been able to return to full-time work because of his injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found that marine contractor TS Rigging Limited had failed to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury. The company also failed to carry out a risk assessment.

TS Rigging Limited of 2 High Street, Burnham on Crouch, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £34,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,917.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Nikki Hughes said: “Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries, with falls from ladders being one of the most common causes.

“This incident could have been prevented if the company had implemented a safe system of work to prevent falls.”