Fixed safety ladders hold several potential benefits in terms of preventing falls, while allowing access to the necessary parts of roofs and other elevated surfaces.
However, one often-overlooked advantage of safety ladders over mobile scaffold towers or fixed scaffolding is that they are less prone to alteration by employees.
The Health & Safety Executive has warned of the risks of allowing untrained staff to potentially alter scaffolding structures, following one worker who suffered severe spinal injuries in a seven-metre fall.
In investigating the incident, which took place in Tregaron in August 2011, the HSE ruled that the fall itself was not the fault of the employer, but that employees should not have been allowed to alter scaffolding such that it became unsafe.
“”Any modifications to scaffolding must be undertaken by someone with appropriate training and experience,”” says HSE inspector Phil Nicolle.
The obvious alternative is simply to use safety ladders when the route to the roof is one that needs to be accessible at all times, and by individuals who lack the training to erect or alter scaffolding themselves.